Last week I had cause to do some baking, I decided to make my Dad his favourite, “Maids of Honour “ from my Mam’s old Be-Ro book.
I learned to cook as a child with my Mam and Gran from this book, it was THE cookbook.
I have 2 old copies of the book, both were my Mams, one is really quite old and in sepia, it’s lost the cover, after a bit of online research and what I remember the cover to look like I think it dates back to 1930. The other one is in colour, it’s the 34th edition from 1974. I decided to buy the 41st edition to add to my collection.
I did more research online, I didn’t realise that Be-Ro was a North East company, but that would explain why every household I knew as a child had a Be-Ro book. All my family baked from this little book for the weekend, the cake tin was rarely empty. The recipes are straightforward and economical too. I enjoyed reading about the history of Be-Ro flour and why the cookbook came about, you can read about it here.
It’s interesting to see how recipes have changed over the editions, to suit today’s palate and pocket. For example the Dundee cake is smaller now, it has less almonds.
The lemon meringue pie has more lemons in it and they are now individual pies.
Margarine has been swapped for butter in the Victoria sandwich cake.
In most recipes salt has been reduced.
Some recipes like my Dad’s favourite Maids of Honour have gone but there are some new recipes like Smoked Trout Tartlets which sounds rather grand for the Be-Ro book.
Today I’m baking for friends coming, I’ve made a start with a Victoria sandwich cake (to fill later) and coconut tartlets. OH can’t resist these.
The new book has some very useful conversion charts (useful when using the old books) And helpful tips for when things go wrong, as ever this really is a little jem of a cookbook and unlike a lot of cookbooks the recipes are easy to follow and ingredients don’t cost the earth. At under £5 a copy I think every home should still have one. Now I think I will go and make some Melting Moments, I bet you can’t eat just one 🙂