I’m meandering through another vintage cookbook. This time, it’s ‘The Commonsense Cookery Book compiled by the Public School Cookery Teachers Association of New South Wales’.
Settle in, for I’m about to cook you breakfast.
Cocoa, Sir? Madame? Please note we only serve real cocoa here, none of that sugary powdered drinking chocolate you’ll find in the next Century. Even good old Bournville will contain additional ingredients once it’s acquired by Cadbury.
Of course, Sir.
War rationing has commenced, so we are supplementing some of our café de jour with chicory root. I hear it’s very restorative, Madame.
Please, settle in. Read today’s papers. Take in the scenery.
It takes a while to brew.
“First of all, one should use Indian or Ceylonese tea. China tea has virtues which are not to be despised nowadays — it is economical, and one can drink it without milk — but there is not much stimulation in it. One does not feel wiser, braver or more optimistic after drinking it. Anyone who has used that comforting phrase ‘a nice cup of tea’ invariably means Indian tea.”
Mr Orwell recommends ‘6 heaped teaspoons to every quart’ of water. There are 2 pints in a quart, which equates to three teaspoons of tea to the pint. May I remind Sir, we are on rations, so the tea will be slightly less… strong… than you may be accustomed to.
Ahhh, but we all must do our bit, mustn’t we?
Thank you for dining with us.
*The Commonsense Cookery Book was first published in 1914. This copy, published in 1940, boasts 236,000 issues.