Cooking with Aunt Daisy

I was recently moving all our cookbooks (to make space for a project I’m working on for the little guy) and came across this gem:

IMG_2694(Aunt Daisy was a New Zealand radio celebrity from the 1930s onwards).

I don’t think I actually ever looked at it properly when it came home with my sister and me after my grandma’s funeral some years ago, but it’s been such a treat to rediscover. I sat down with a notepad and made a list of the recipes I wanted to try first, and thoroughly enjoyed just reading it.

The best pages are those annotated in familiar handwriting – both Grandma and Grandad had their favourites, especially marmalade recipes! – and even more special are the inserted slips of paper written in ink by one of my great-grandparents. Grandma’s famous cockles (almost a cross between shortbread and yoyos) recipe was clearly one she inherited. I’m saving that one for a special occasion 🙂

It’s also quite a fascinating insight into cooking in a vasty different time. The one sentence adverts across the top and bottom of the pages are a hoot: Gas Cooking – Modern, Fast, Economical, Clean, Simple, Certain, Cool, Healthful, Time Releasing. or Let Your Children Make Their Own Milkshakes With Hansell’s Milko. If only ads were so succinct and simple these days! On the other hand, I’ve found at times that instructions in the recipes themselves are sometimes too simple, or assume a certain body of culinary knowledge that can no longer be taken for granted. I’ve been a little perplexed at the difference between a slow oven, a moderate oven or a fairly quick one! Even better are the recipes that end with “Cook for X mins” with no indication of temperature at all!

So far, I’ve had a blast cooking up a big pot of very tasty tomato sauce,

IMG_0076 IMG_0083

as well as baking a distinctly average Billy Loaf and an outstandingly tasty Date Loaf #1.


Next up are Bumblebees!

(I tried these beauties – a decadent mixture of dried fruit and nuts, shredded coconut and a whole tin of condensed milk – a week after starting this post, and the ensuing gooey mess has to be seen to be believed.. Still delicious though!)



2 thoughts on “Cooking with Aunt Daisy

  1. Anne-Marie says:

    What a treasure! I would have been delighted to have had something so special and personal from one of my grandparents or great-grandparents.

  2. pepibebe says:

    I have my Great-Grandmother’s Edmonds cookbook. It doesn’t have any notations in it and is rather worse for wear as I’ve been using it since it was given to me when she died and I was aged 10… So it’s torn and batter stained and missing it’s cover & index. However…what is lovely is that I used to bake with her too. So when I make scones or pikelets I can see and hear her boastfully saying she made the best ones and what her little secrets were. I still follow her tips and make pretty damn impressive ones myself I must say!

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