It all started with a biscuit tin. Writer and editor Steve Rudd was finally clearing out some boxes that had been stored in various places at his home since a house move in 1996. But it wasn’t as simple as that, for some of the boxes were actually boxes that had been following him round the country during various previous house moves since 1992. And some of those boxes contained stuff that originally came from his parents' home, dating as far back as 1980, when his maternal grandma, the redoubtable Granny Fenwick, died.
So it was that, one day in the summer of 2012, Steve found he was holding in his hand the very same brown biscuit tin which had stood on his granny’s mantelpiece when he used to visit her in the small village of Welton, near Hull, back in the 1960s, from a box which had been unopened since 1980. Inside the tin was not, as he had first surmised, either a bundle of old white fivers or a tangle of bits of string, hooks, and odd buttons, but in fact lots of pieces of folded paper, which turned out to be recipes and household hints either handwritten onto the back of old envelopes dating back into the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s, or clipped from contemporary newspapers of the time.
"It was like opening a window and suddenly being able to see back almost 80 years. As I read them to myself, in her own words, as she wrote them, I could hear her voice again.” said Steve, who has now collected them together, along with a few relevant family photographs, a bit of background history and an afterword by social historian and biographer Maisie Robson, into Granny Fenwick’s Recipes and Remedies, an 80-page illustrated paperback.
Of interest to students of both cookery and social history, especially the make-do-and-mend, "Keep Calm and Carry On” years of the second world war, when rationing was prevalent, this book will also appear to all those who know the old East Riding of Yorkshire, particularly Welton, Elloughton, and Elloughton Dale.
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