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Culinary Memories of a 70`s Child

by caincat 

Posted: 29 July 2007
Word Count: 2604
Summary: Full of recipes that were oh so popular in our childhoods if you are a mid to late 30something. A book of culinary memories, anecdotes, recipes, hints and tips with three aims in mind:- to revisit fond memories of such greats as toad in the hole and jam roly poly; protect and preserve some of the great culinary delights we have and to inject humour into the kitchen. The book has 90 recipes and is filled with memories and anecdotes from the 70s, 80s and 90s.

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Book Proposal
July 2007

Summary and Overview
Culinary Memories of a 70’s child is a book of food related observations from a child born in 1970, heavily influenced by a home life that involved plenty of traditional fayre. The book includes amusing stories and brief history of everyday dishes, some of which are still popular today, and others that really ought to become part of every day life.
The book is a one-woman campaign to bring back well-balanced, flavourful food and evokes memories - split into key sections, including Fun Food, Sweet Treats, Everyday Dishes and Preserves. Dishes that feature in the book include Battenburg Cake, Toad in the Hole, Scouse, Chicken Kiev and Damson Jam. A whole host of foods that use economical ingredients and not an additive in sight!
The recipes have clear instructions, and also include helpful hints that have been gathered by the author whilst testing and amending the recipes. Every recipe in the book has been tested at least once, and some favourites like the Marmalade cake, at least 3 times. This is not a patronising cook book, it reads like a conversation with a friend.
The book contains a total of 90 recipes, and offers, where researched a brief history into some of the most elusive dishes – and I defy anybody not to adore Alison’s Luxury Quiche. At present the book covers approximately 300 pages, and deserves to be populated with good quality colour images.
The author is a current project manager who for many years has hankered after a career involving food, local ingredients, farm shops and most of all, bringing back some of the great 70s, 80s recipes.
The book is in draft stage, with all text produced, recipes tested and written.

About the Author
I am a 37 year masters graduate, currently employed within the regeneration field. However, in writing this book, I am a 37 year old passionate foody, cook, home economist with a vivid culinary imagination. My experience and love of food and cooking has evolved over a year 30 year period, right from the time I was allowed to create my first jam tarts at home, to my current love of food and culinary issues. A self-confessed ‘foody TV’ addict, I would have only one question to ask…”Is it wrong that I wake thinking of dishes I can create, or see an ingredient in a farm shop and can’t wait to cook with it?” I don’t think so.
New to the publishing world, I have for many years been able to identify a niche in the publishing market for a friendly, basic cook book that features traditional recipes, helping to build the bridge between food, memories and childhoods. This book is not meant to read as a personal diary, but rather a collection of food related stories, notes, hints and tips.
I've just finished filming, as a contestant in a TV programme for home cooks - did reasonably well, and hope that once the programme is aired in September 2007, that I can generate additional interest.

The Market & Competition
The audience for this book is primarily people of a similar ilk, those with fond memories of the 1970s and 1980s, interested in simple food and ingredients, with a desire to create good quality, wholesome food. Additional markets include:-
• Mid 30s parents and families
• Home leavers and young people, wanting basic, well explained recipes
• ‘Foodies’ interested in the current retro food trends
There are some comparative books on the market - The Prawn Cocktail Years and Just Like Mother Used to Make. However, there is sufficient capacity within the market to support this book, based upon the humour and simple hints and tips. Each competitor has a different overall theme and ethos, none of which directly compete with Culinary Memories.
At present there are no specific magazines that cater for retro foodies, however we are all experiencing a culinary ‘retro’ period, with some of the greatest British dishes making a comeback. This trend has led to a large number of culinary magazines featuring traditional, home cooked recipes, which in turn has shaped some culinary media and TV, including Masterchef and Market Garden. Concerned about our food audit, the trend is now moving towards buying cheaper cuts of meat with provenance, using fresh ingredients, more home cooking and a reduction in processed foods.
The author is currently contacting magazines, to offer articles for publication, to increase the groundswell of support for ‘good old fashioned home cooking’.

Annotated Table of Contents
Section 1 – Fun Food (foot for parties, picnics and food for fun)
I’ve put this section in the book, as sometimes it’s easy to forget that food is and can be fun. Talking to people when researching for this book, it became obvious that each family had their own speciality foods – recipes that either a friend or relative had made up or adapted. These foods become a sort of urban myth and revisiting them can often lead to some quality reminiscing.

1 Caramel rice crispy cakes
2 Spam fritters
3 Scollops (Scolloped Potatoes)
4 French Fancies
5 French toast
6 Sausage plait/cheese and onion plait
7 Salmon Pate
8 Rich Salmon Pate
9 Cheese straws

Section 2 – Soups
10 My Dad’s Chicken Soup
11 Lentil and Ham Broth
12 Mulligatawny soup
13 Oxtail Soup
14 Tomato Soup
15 Minestrone Soup

Annotated Table of Contents (continued)

Section 3 – Stews, Casseroles and other hearty fayre

16 Scouse
17 Hot Pot
18 Dumplings
19 Suet Dumplings
20 Braised liver
21 Sautéed liver
22 Baked and Spiced Ham

Annotated Table of Contents (continued)
Section 4 - Everyday food, everyday recipes
In the 1970s the number of people taking foreign holidays, in particular to European destination continued to grow. This growth then brought a significant interest in foreign, European and in particular, Mediterranean cuisine. Shoppers would begin to notice pizza, pasta, olive oil, French bread and Mediterranean dishes establishing themselves on the supermarket shelves.
23 Steak and Mushroom Pie
24 Shepherd’s Pie
25 Cottage pie
26 Steak and kidney pudding
27 Faggots with onion gravy
28 Corned Beef Hash
29 Gaynor and Chris’s Toad in the Hole
30 White Fish in Parsley Sauce
31 Fish Pie
32 Fishcakes
33 Salmon Fishcakes
34 Chicken Curry
35 Chicken Kiev
36 Coq au Vin
37 Quick Sweet and Sour Pork
38 Slow Cook Sweet and Sour Pork
39 Quiche Lorraine
40 Alison’s Luxury Quiche
41 Gala Pie (or pork and egg pie)
42 Hot Water Crust Pastry
43 Lasagne
44 Spaghetti Bolognese
45 Bubble and Squeak

Annotated Table of Contents (continued)
Section 5 – Sweet Treats

46 Mark’s biscuits
47 Freezer Biscuits
48 Garibaldi biscuits
49 Dundee Biscuits
50 Shortbread
51 Millionaires’ Shortbread
Pastry and Tarts
52 Sweet Shortcrust Pastry
53 Jam Tarts
54 Treacle Tart
55 Blackberry and Apple Crumble Tart
56 Lemon Meringue Pie
57 Banoffi Pie
58 Eccles Cakes
59 Chorley Cakes

Annotated Table of Contents (continued)
Cakes, Breads and Afternoon Tea
60 Marmalade and ginger cake
61 Lemon Curd Cake
62 Dundee Cake
63 Cherry and Almond Cake
64 Battenburg Cake
65 Pineapple Upside Down Cake
66 Butterfly Cakes
67 Cheesecake
68 Baked cheesecake
69 Scones
70 Bara brith or tea bread
71 Malt loaf
72 Chelsea Buns
73 Coconut Pyramids
74 Victoria Sponge
75 Mark’s Nan’s Wrong Chocolate Cake
Custards and Creams
76 Egg Custard Tart
77 Tart au Citron
78 Manchester Tart
79 Fresh Custard
80 Crème caramel
81 Crème brulee
Puddings and Rib-stickers
82 Jam Roly Poly – a lighter version
83 Bread and butter pudding
84 Rice pudding
85 Trifle – the soggy sponge kind

Annotated Table of Contents (continued)
Section 6 – Jams, pickles and preserves
86 Piccallili
87 Apple chutney
88 Damson Jam
89 Marmalade
90 Lemon curd

Sample Material
I would never advocate that food is merely seen as fuel, something that gives us the energy and nutrients to keep us going. As a child in the 70s, or indeed for a child in any period, food is something that is either fun (well, if its angel delight, fish fingers or mashed potato) or something that fills a young mind with dread (if its liver, greens or in my case, arctic roll). Researching for this book, I've spoken to many friends and acquaintances, some 70s children, some not, all of whom have one thing in common - the type of food eaten as a child can build lasting relationships, both positive and negative that still hang around when we're in our late 30s.

In my opinion growing up in the 1970s was an interesting time for food and culinary tastes, on one hand due to overseas travel we were being introduced to much more exotic foods that evoked memories of far away travels (not for me though, I didn't travel abroad until I was 19, well unless you count the Isle of Man). On the other hand, food still had the support of traditional recipes, so the traditional meat and two veg and hearty soups and stews. What a culinary quandary - how jealous was I as a child upon hearing about friends who were enjoying vesta curries, super noodles, potato waffles and other such delights when in our house, we were still eating what I would call traditional food - pea and ham soup, home made steak and kidney pudding and tinned fruit and evaporated milk. As somebody who is now in their, (ahem!) mid to late thirties - I certainly am grateful that I wasn't exposed to convenience food as a child, something to thank my parents for.

I also grew up in a household where I was allowed to get involved in the kitchen. So, it may have been a nightmare for my poor mum, but I thought I was really being helpful. I can still remember the look on my poor dad's face when I decided to make him his very own jam tart. I must have been about 7 and my mother was baking (a regular pastime) and I'd asked for a small amount of pastry to make some jam tarts for my dad. She dutifully put a small ball of pastry to one side and carried on baking. I, being the sort of child who was easily distracted, went out to briefly play in the garden, and returned after she had left the kitchen. I saw my small ball of pastry and kneaded it and kneaded it, rolled it out and made some jam tarts for my dad. Unfortunately, being only 7, I had forgotten to wash my hands, and as my favourite pastime involved getting mucky, had transferred all of the dirt from my hands onto the pastry (my hands were lovely and clean though), so the pastry resembled a dark, grey coloured sludge. My mum did bake the jam tarts for me, and did tell my dad the whole story when he came home from work. To this day I'm not quite sure if he ate the jam tarts or not, but I've got a feeling he did take a bite of one, just so he didn't hurt my feelings!

Festive Food
Christmas, however was, and still is a great excuse to really get traditional in the kitchen. As a child and teenager I experienced the excess that is christmas cooking. That’s not to say that my parents were wasteful because they certainly weren't. They just didn't waste any money on numerous boxes of chocolates, expensive gateaux and convenience festive food. Instead my mum and I made the christmas cake in early November and then fed it with the contents of the drinks cabinet. Christmas cake was always topped with a thick layer of marzipan and home made 'break your teeth' royal icing; a home made chocolate log made from a chocolate swiss roll smothered in chocolate flavoured buttercream was also key to the christmas table; and at least 4 dozen mince pies had been baked and devoured by the time christmas day arrived. But do you know what? Nothing was wasted, masses of food was not consigned to the dustbin or allowed to spoil, because we just cooked enough to keep us and visitors content over the festive period. The only nod to consumerism in our house at that time was the ubiquitous tin of family circle biscuits.

I still have fond memories of festive and traditional food and even now can't imagine christmas without making a christmas cake; baking a ham or making my own cranberry sauce (which takes literally minutes and allows you to add a good glug of port).

So, I guess, growing up in the 1970s, the type of food you ate could depend on a number of differentials, if you travelled abroad, if you had the extra cash to spend on convenience foods, if you were one of the lucky ones to own a microwave before the mid 1980s, or if your family had adventurous tastes. So which one are you?

So why write a book?
Well, because I love food, I love eating food, I love cooking food, and I love experimenting with food. Some people have a quiet read in the corner to relax, me, I'd much rather be a bit experimental in the kitchen and create.

I'd also got to the age where for the past 14 years I had been able to take responsibility for cooking my own food and developing my own personal tastes. In addition, my sometimes very lucky, and sometimes very brave husband Mark (he of Mark's biscuits, page ***) has sometimes, enjoyed and sometimes suffered my experiments in the kitchen.

Whilst I'm happy as larry cooking thai, chinese, african or european dishes, I'm equally as happy cooking good old traditional dishes, the sort that give you a warm glow inside, - the type of food we used to call hearty, but the trendy name for it nowadays is 'peasant'. I can’t stand ready made pasta sauces, when I can have much more fun with a bubbling a vat of home made tomato sauce, love to make chicken stock and am never happier than when I'm concocting a ‘stew’, which suddenly becomes a 'casserole' if it’s for guests.

Over time, I began to realise that cooking some of the favourites from childhood does indeed act as a cheap form of therapy. Sometimes, making a childhood soup, fruit crumble or stew can bring back memories of childhood, where summers lasted for ever, penny sweets were actually a penny and wagon wheels needed to be held with two hands! (and don’t even get me started on curly wurlys – because they used to be at least 2 foot long…right!?)

The research
Over time, the idea of capturing childhood memories trapped in food became not so much a fun hobby, but an opportunity to preserve (not necessarily in aspic) some of the favourite recipes from 30 years ago. For the past 6 months, I've spent time talking with friends, acquaintances and total strangers about their food loves and hates as a child.

The collection of recipes, some traditional, some typically 1970s and some modern day interpretations. are contained within this book, along with comments and thoughts each recipe evokes. Some of the recipes have been updated as many of the 1970s ingredients may be unavailable, deemed unhealthy or banned!

So, before you get on with reading and enjoying, and hopefully sampling some of the recipes enclosed, its worth giving you a warning...yes, liver does feature in the book and so does cabbage.

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Comments by other Members

Miss Daisy at 20:17 on 29 July 2007  Report this post
I am relatively new to writing so am not really in a position to comment, but did want to lend my support in that I would 100% buy your book, it sounds fantastic! Great recipes and I love the anecdotes, makes it all the more personal. You have a nice warm and friendly tone.

Dee at 21:46 on 04 August 2007  Report this post
Hi Catherine, what a great idea. I remember food from this era – prawn cocktail, sirloin steak, liebfraumilch – it can't have all been that bad, can it? Er… yes!

As a retro-revival, I think this has great potential. We can re-experience the menu at Abigail’s Party.

Good luck with it. Can I hazard a guess that, with the name Hudspith, you originate from the north east?


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