When is a cookbook more than a cook book? When, like this wonderful vintage edition of Farmhouse Fare: recipes from country housewives collected by Farmers Weekly, it adds to your kitchen's interior decor.
I spotted this 1973 edition of the ultimate country recipe book in a Hampshire charity shop, for just 50 pence. Couldn't resist that orange font, set against a rustic wooden backdrop, and there's just something about garish yet stolid-looking seventies food photography that just does it for me. It looks rather nice - I think - in my slightly seventies kitchen. As for the recipes... wow. As the jacket blurb says: "Compiled from the favourite recipes of country housewives, this book gathers together the very best of traditional British home-cooking and invites the housewife to experiment with a range of wines, meads, preserves and chutneys [such as] Grapefruit Champagne, Honey Beer and Date and Banana Chutney." Among the book's simple treats including jam slices (made with stale bread and dripping), glacé grapes (surely should have been one of the canapes in Abigail's Party) and hearty onion cake, recipes such as hatted kit, "a very old Highland dish", show the book's heritage. "Warm slightly over the fire two pints of buttermilk," it begins. Then, "pour it into a dish and carry it to the side of a cow. Milk into it about one pint of milk..." Amazing.
Buy the book on Amazon, but - sadly - without the lush cover. Shop around and you'll eventually find the 1973 edition - for inspiration about where to look, check out this great Guardian blog about the charm of vintage cookbooks.
Handy hint: you could display books like this on this special new shelving from Ikea.