Visiting my nan on Sunday, I started asking her if she still had some of the old recipes she cooked us as kids. Nan was renowned for her biscuits and I thought some of them would make a perfect addition to Ella’s school lunch box as a treat.

What I got was far beyond what I imagined. I came home with a shopping bag full of recipes to look through. Some were even from my great grandmother. Among them was this treasure:

Now Wondrous Ultra Special Sensational Mouthwatering Cookery

Nan's cookbook

This is nan’s mother’s group recipe book. Nan is in her mid 80s. It’s a yellow cardboard covered book with three simple staples in it. Nothing fancy. In the back it says “The North West Union of State School’s Mothers’ Clubs. Donation…. 30 cents’’.

Throughout there are old fashioned recipes typed up neatly, like Chocolate Sponge Cake, Five Minute Cake and Steamed Pudding. There’s also some obscure treats like Apricot Festival Cream, Weetbix Cake and my all-time favourites – Nameless 1 and Nameless 2. There’s a note underneath saying “both are scrumptious – ask Mrs Dodd for the names”. I’m wondering if anyone ever asked Mrs Dodd.

The book even has a couple of pages of “hints’’, like:

  • To sharpen scissors, cut on the neck of a sauce bottle or similar as if you were cutting the neck off.
  • When requiring a small quantity of lemon juice, pierce with knitting needle and squeeze out the required amount.
  • Bunches of mint placed about the kitchen discourage flies.

And so many more.

Over the next couple of weeks I thought I’d share some of the recipes from the book and from her shopping bag full of treasures she’s given me to look through. I might throw in a few of the handy hints too.

To end, here’s the first page in the book. Timeless comedy.

Recipe happy home

Recipe for Happy Home

1lb of good temper
2lbs forbearance
1lb patience
1.5 lbs contentment
3 lbs unselfishness
1lb fun
2lbs cheerfulness
Method: Mix well with 2 quarts of milk of human kindness.
Dose: 1 wine glass full the first thing in the morning. To be repeated as the effect wears off.

To Preserve A Husband:

Be careful in your selection. Do not choose too young. When once selected give your entire thought to preparation for domestic use. Some insist on keeping them in pickle. Others are constantly keeping them in hot water. This makes them sour, hard and sometimes bitter. Even poor varieties may be made sweet, tender and good by garnishing them with patience, well sweetened with love and seasoned with kisses. Wrap them in a mantle of charity. Keep warm with a steady fire of domestic devotion and serve with peaches and cream. Thus prepared, they will keep for years.

We mums have come a long way in how we go about sharing recipes today!

Do you have anything from your grandparents you treasure? What about an old recipe that you still cook today?

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12 Responses to Household tips and recipes – Nan’s mothers’ group recipe book

  1. Melissa says:

    What a gem of a find. Such great advice. These ladies would have founded Pinterest, had they had the technology.
    Melissa recently posted..Carving the PumpkinMy Profile

  2. Enid Bite'Em says:

    That’s really something to be treasured – particularly with ‘Nameless 1 and 2′(hahaha) – they were probably all too busy actually cooking to research the names (or do the lifestyle photography) – 30 cents – what a bargain! Lucky you 🙂
    Enid Bite’Em recently posted..The Mystery of Mercy CloseMy Profile

    • Kel says:

      As opposed to me, who cooks one cake a fortnight, takes 100 photos, Instagrams it, blogs about it, Pins it, Facebooks it, sends it to Twitter…. 😉
      My, how times change, hey!
      Very glad to have it though. x

  3. I have my mothers! It is green, with a lot of chocolate splashed on the front cover, and on the page with the chocolate cake we all used to love.Which I’m not sure I’ve ever made, come to think of it. From my preschool class.

    It’s not quite a 60 year old cookbook, but it’s sentimental to me. I might have to get it out and make something.
    Melissa Mitchell recently posted..Wordless WednesdayMy Profile

  4. What a treasure to find. I have my MIL staying as I recoup and her cooking is comforting old school meals. I also have a book my mum has from the 50’s how to be a good wife, it’s full of wise and not so wise gems xxx

    • Kel says:

      There’s nothing better than the old recipes, Nat. Hope you’re recovering well too. x
      The books of your mums would be just wonderful. What a great thing to have! 🙂

  5. Lisa Wood says:

    OH that is a real treasure! I love the idea of having something from your Grandma. It would be so good to turn it into a book that can be passed on down to generations!
    I am going to use the recipe for Happy Homes! And the preserve a husband – pricless 🙂
    Thanking you for sharing.
    I so wished that I have something from my late Grandma but I have got my memories of having fun with her!
    Lisa Wood recently posted..TodayMy Profile

    • Kel says:

      That’s the important thing, Lisa. As long as you’ve got the memories. x
      Yes, that Preserve A Husband are words to live by! LOL! 🙂

  6. […] Household tips and recipes – Nan’s mothers’ group recipe book […]

  7. […] I said a few months back, Nan gave me a big grocery bag full of old recipes to scan, including her mother’s group recipe book. Some recipes she let me have and others I made her keep, because I’m sure others in the family […]

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