Wednesday, May 9, 2012

G.G.Goes Back in time: 1946 Cookery Book Edited by Ninny

I've often talked about my Gran on my blog, as she was a fabulous cook, but I've never told you much about Nin. My Nan (or Ninny/Yetta) as I like to call her. Ninski is not a great cook (although she and Mum claim otherwise) but she is a rather remarkable woman. She has many fascinating stories that have come out along the way and doesn't like to skite, but other people around the district are always telling me how amazing she is and fill me in on the details.

Ninny was one of the first women in regional radio and was based in Tamworth. She, at the tender age of 17, worked as a presenter, back in the earlier part of the century, well before it was the done thing for women. She was on air when the announcement came through from Winston Churchill to say that the war had ended and even had thousands of people turn up to watch her be married. Totes famous.

At 21, she was the President of the Women's Radio Club which cemented her status as a loved presenter. Hilariously, I came across the Women's Radio Club cook book, edited by Ninny herself, that was published back in 1946. Women across the region listened and wrote into the station (under their pen name alias) and each week there was a prize of 2 and sixpence for the best hint or recipe of the week. These were all collated into what became the book which then sold for 5 shillings.

The proceeds went to different charities including Royal Far West Children's Health Scheme, local school libraries, the local ambulance and hospitals, Rotary and Boy Scouts to name a few. Madonna King and Alison Alexander's "A Generous Helping" was produced when I was working at 612 ABC in Brisbane and is like a modern day version of this book- although I had no idea about it's existence at the time!


The ads remind me of a simpler time - with copy like 'Get there first for Summer 1947 with Kelvinator' many promising that 'country customers are specially catered for' or Penny's Delivery Service prompt you to : 'ask for our orderman or call b717'. Perhaps you'd like to visit the 'chemist and druggist' or take a suggestion from Kay's Wine Salon, advertising their 'Special Claret Fizz recipe? Cute to boot! 'I'm actually totally jealous of the amount of amazing department stores that were around back in 'the day'. 

It fact, the whole thing is absolutely divine. I wanted to share a few pieces of saintly advice and the funny little recipes published. The copy I managed to get my hands on is taped up and has been used well, complete with spillages from many cooking adventures. It is actually on loan from my Dad's Aunt who made me promise to return 'as she still uses it very frequently.' Seems to have stood the test of time! Good Work Nins.

My favourite article is this one predictably this one, but I'll also share some the of the recipes and fabulous handy hints over a few posts. Trust me! You will thank me! Aside from being pricelessly entertaining, there is a cocktail section, and a section listing every scone you could ever need to bake.

'Gardening Makes Good Health'
The relationship between the practice of gardening and the possession of good health - though often spoken of- is not realised as fully as it should be.

In all the phases of health, physical, mental and spiritual, gardening plays no mean part. 

Physically, the body benefits by reason of the muscular exercise consequent on the work of digging and hoeing, the stopping to pull up weeds or to plant seedlings. The pure air inhaled and the influence of bright sunlight also tend to promote bodily well being. 

Gardening is an exercise so natural and perfectly adjustable that it conforms to itself to every sex, state and condition. It may be taken in large or small doses, and each dose may be heavy or light, according to the will of the 'patient'.

A half-hour's gardening in the morning before breakfast is better than all the port wine, cod liver oil, or "Beef and Iron" and other tonics that have been provided by the misdirected enemies of man.  And as an aid to the attainment of the graceful figure so much sought after, it has been well said that, "As a reducer, there is nothing like a garden of your own if you work in it properly."

Mentally, also, the benefits are undoubted. Gardening is essentially calmative. Many an overstrained mind has been restored to a normal and healthy condition by it; many a fit or melancholia dispelled, and many a fit of depression removed. It is in every way a golden cure for those afflicted with "nerves", for the relaxation and recuperation made possible inevitably increase efficiency and concentration. They give poise and calm for a clear brain, and fit the owner of those priceless possessions for the successful performance of his daily task no matter what that task may be. 

Given physical and mental benefits, what shall we say regarding spiritual health? As surely as night follows day, there is, there must be, well-being in this direction also. Constant association with the ever old yet ever new, changes of the season, the endless variety of form and colour, the miracle of development from seed to glorious blossom, cannot do other than direct almost automatically, the thoughts of the true gardener to the Creator of the Universe and to make him realise to the full truth of Kipling's words when he says that

"..... God made him sees
"That half an honest gardener's work is done upon his knees."

And so, with the physical, mental and spiritual health we have that "consummation devoutly to be wished", and never more needed than in the present day, a good citizen in every sense of the word.

Clearly I'm not the first person to discover the benefits of gardening. It is well documented or should I say, It is a fact, because everyone knows it to be true.....

So... tell me readers: Have you ever discovered a fascinating old cook book? Do you use any of the recipes?

2 fabulous comments:

Urban Princess said...

Your Ninny sounds amazing!!

Rita (mademoiselle délicieuse) said...

This is a part of your family history which should be treasured and preserved! Have you thought about scanning a copy of the book?

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