The cookbook

As a forgetful kind of person I make notes in my diary regarding almost everything I need to remember. Mid-October it tells me to make the Christmas cake. It’s early, but not too early, since I’m aware I tend to procrastinate a bit, and will need the extra time.

This year I started on the right day. By the right day I mean I sat down to write a list for what to buy; the dried fruit, plenty of glacé cherries for Son, and maybe some new brandy. (I had forced most of my old ingredients onto our now ex-neighbours before the move.)

Do you recall what happened to the Sara Paretsky novel I wanted signing when she was in Edinburgh in August? It was still in a box. Somewhere. That’s what will have happened to the Good Housekeeping Cookbook, too. Back in April, Christmas felt a long way away and I judged it a less urgent accessory than some other (cook)books, and into a box it went.

To write my shopping list, and to actually bake, I had to resort to asking on Facebook if anyone had a copy and if they could scan the recipe for me. I just didn’t feel adventurous enough to test a different recipe, even if ‘everyone’ online swears by Delia.

Luckily, Mrs Pendolino’s sister is a baking sort of woman and could provide me with what I needed. Thank you! Christmas is saved, cakewise. The recipe even spread to a friend who read my appeal and wanted to have a go at a ‘real English’ fruitcake. (Couldn’t quite make her interested in the icing, however.)

I went for a little walk the other day. It felt nicely autumnal, and I decided I’d make some Scotch pancakes when I got in.

But you know what happened, don’t you? Yes, that was another Good Housekeeping secret. This time I went online and guesstimated a pancake batter from the various recipes I found.

You really can’t beat a reliable kitchen companion.


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