The BMA cookbook
Travelling back to the UK recently to visit family, my mother pulled out a tattered little paperback wondering if I would like it. Lo and behold it was the Doctor’s Cookery Book. Published by the British Medical Association in 1938 it was ‘for the women who have to get a full pennyworth of food value from every penny of their outlay’.
My mother had written on the inside cover
‘…this was Nana’s book dating back to the 1930’s – before the 2nd world war – when she was a young housewife. It’s very interesting to read about the foods and meats recommended by the BMA at a time of depression and hardship. It’s also fascinating to read the menus and ways of cooking. Obviously well used by Nana! I remember her cooking quite a lot of the dishes as I grew up – and loved them’.
21 Menus and 82 recipes – for every day of the week for 3 weeks.
“….first complied in 1935 for the British Medical Association, which represents 37,000 doctors in every branch of the profession, by a committee of doctors and expert cooks, as a part of the Association’s anxious endeavour to promote national fitness by improving nutrition in the home….
The first edition was entitled ‘Family Meals and Catering’ and well over 100,000 copies were quickly distributed to housewives, schools, and teachers of domestic science, through social workers, women’s institutes, industrial firms for their employees, school medical offers and medical officers of health.
The Doctors Cookery Book, Foreword to the 1938 edition
The menu’s are superbly British or, as my Aussie partner said, ‘Good Lord! It’s Cooking With Lard’!
Here are a couple of samples. Tuesday week one has Shepherds Pie for dinner – with 1 ounce (25 grams) of dripping, followed by Treacle tart – using 4 ounces of lard, and for supper, split pea soup using one ounce of dripping. Lard attack!
The following day has cornish pie (4 ounces of lard in the pastry), with gravy (1 ounce of dripping). Greens and baked apples for desert. Supper is leftover soup from yesterday (with cheese).
Thursday is stewed tripe and onions….. Fantastic!