Days Gone By - Stevie's Crazy Kitchen Blog at - 297364

Stevie's Crazy Kitchen

Days gone by 
Feb. 13, 2013 6:01 pm 
Updated: Feb. 19, 2013 9:00 pm
Many years ago, while living in England, the family used to watch a tv series, "Upstairs, Downstairs."  Some time ago, I was given the boxed set as a gift, and as I watched these dvd's start to end, I began thinking about British fare, and what I missed about it...   In the series, Mrs Bridges, cooked for an army on an old coal burning stove, in what I seem to recall were copper pots, perhaps called "hammered copper" as that is how they were shaped.

Now, during my time there, I feel that I was very fortunate to spend time in the house mom grew up in, and never ceased to marvel at just how my gran was able to raise 7 children ( Jackie, the first son, passed away at an early age, making 8 siblings total.)  Downstairs was one room, and the smallest galley style kitchen I've ever seen, upstairs having two very small bedrooms.  While they had running cold water by then, the "loo" was outside their little stamp sized front yard.  I've been chatting with my cousin who still lives in the area (so to speak) about those days, which has Jean thinking also, about growing up, and being familiar with "the way things were" when our mothers were young.  Jean is just a tad older than I... and has a much clearer memory of the earlier days.  Before I returned to the US, Aunt Flo had to vacate that tiny little row house, and move to an apartment building, as the entire area was slated to be bulldozed.  Sad... that bit of history was simply flattened to rubble.  Mom still tells tales of  WW2, when she and Aunt Gwen were still living at home (they were the youngest.)

Now that I've rambled incessantly, I'd best begin  getting to the point!  I had mentioned to a friend here in Phoenix that I'd be interested in buying the cookbook, which was full of recipes, made by the infamous Mrs Bridges from the series.  Doug loaned me his copy, and decided not to spend the $$ .   I purchased another British cookbook, which has many recipes that I rely on from time to time when the mood strikes.

Of late, I've been introduced to the newer series, "Downton Abbey," and once again am enthralled by the lifestyle of British aristocrats before and after WW1.  In this series, though, little mention is made of the menus served daily, or for specific functions.  As always, the house staff does eat a lot of lamb stew, but as for the family, we only hear bits and drabs about this sauce, or that soup...  I wonder if a cookbook will be printed at some point?  As I understand, here in the US we're watching season 3, and that there may be a 4th season in the works, while season 3 came to an end last year, in Britain.  If not, I'll simply have to pull out my trusted book, and decide just recipes to make - though some of them don't sound overly appetizing! 

Be happy, be healthy, be crazy, all!
Feb. 13, 2013 7:01 pm
I am a shameless Anglophile! I loved Upstairs Downstairs and am also loving Downton Abbey. I have also read quite a bit about England, the history and social mores. From what I have read and based on my grandmother's recollection of life as staff to Irish upper class, I think the food may have disappointed foodies like us. Have you ever wandered over to the UK&Ireland section of AR?
Feb. 13, 2013 7:06 pm
Loved this post. We used to joke about British fare in Munich. Most of my friends there were British, so I suppose that's ok! The joke went, "The French say Bon Apetit!" before a meal, and the Germans say, "Guten Apetit!" but the British say, "I'm sorry!" Having said that, I watched a lot of British cooking shows, and there didn't appear to be anything to apologize for. Two Fat Ladies were my favorites, and there was some young feller that had a place out in the country. I wish I could recall the show name. Anyway, thanks for a fun post. It brought back some great memories!
Feb. 13, 2013 7:32 pm
Doc -- could that young feller be Jamie Oliver? He's had a cooking show which takes place in the country. I also love Downton Abbey. There is a cookbook about it, I've seen it at Sam's Club. Loved this post.
Feb. 13, 2013 8:06 pm
I always liked the BBC series: Keeping Up Appearances, As Time Goes By, and Waiting For God. I also liked "The F Word" With Gordon Ramsey.
Feb. 13, 2013 8:22 pm
MBO, Nope not Jamie, but he's ok too. But this was an older young feller!
Feb. 14, 2013 2:18 am
Doc - Could you be thinking of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall? There have been a number of programmes featured around River Cottage.
Feb. 14, 2013 4:31 am
Hi! Happy Valentine's Day. I just love the British humor. I'm 3rd generation out of England but, I must have English taste buds 'cause I like foods on the bland...'do love Eastern food and spicy food. What station can I find these English shows on? Back to the chat, you are so lucky to have those memories. My g'parents were all "passed" by the time I was born and I have no knowledge of my family that came from England....Not even from whence they came.
Feb. 14, 2013 9:08 am
BigShotsMom, guess I've never thought to look at AR-overseas... That truly would be fun, and maybe wake some forgotten memories! Thanks for the idea! I do have a wonderful rec for Steak and Guiness Pie... Haven't made that of late! Best get some decent beef in the house! Be well!
Feb. 14, 2013 9:12 am
Doc, glad you enjoyed! I've never managed to catch The Two Fat Ladies... guess it's too late, now. I had first thought of Jamie Oliver also, but can't think of any other "young fellers" on tv, so guess I'm no help at all for that one! Be well!
Feb. 14, 2013 9:14 am
mbo, Thanks, I'll look for that cookbook! (Downton Abbey) Heaven knows, I'll NEVER have enough cookbooks! Be well!
Feb. 14, 2013 9:16 am
King, can't dislike that "bucket woman" and I've seen some episodes of Waiting for God, but not familiar with As Time Goes By. I must pay more attention! Be well!
Feb. 14, 2013 9:26 am
Tyke, guess I'll have to research Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. Such a mouthful, I MUST know more! Be well!
Feb. 14, 2013 9:36 am
LNYFLTXFL, I'm sorry to hear that you've missed out on so much of your heritage... I feel blessed to have seen first hand where some of my roots come from, and to still have family (whom I've met) to chat with via email, about the days when our mums were young women. I'm also lucky that Jean is that bit older than I, as she knew our gran. Jean recently sent me some books/pamphlets with lots of pics of Birmingham and Aston of so long ago. Be well!
Feb. 14, 2013 12:00 pm
Wonderful blog,never watched those shows,but i do watch a lot of cooking shows when i get the chance.Jamie Oliver,Nigella Lawson. Being Italian myself,i also like David Rocco,and a few i can't spell. One British comedy show i loved was Faulty Towers.We don't get it any more.Shame.Have a great day.
Feb. 14, 2013 5:33 pm
manella, glad you enjoyed! How was the weather when you were in AZ? Hope you had a great time! Be well!
Feb. 14, 2013 6:12 pm
Hey Stevie,weather was ok,not as hot as as the rest of the year,January is a little cooler.Quite nice during the day,night time was sweaters and socks,but better then snow.Went to Edmonton Alberta from there to visit with the rest of my family,namely my dad who is 91,and still going strong.So good to see everyone.Then of course back to Nova Scotia and it's wonderful snow.Oh well had a great time.Take care.
Feb. 14, 2013 6:22 pm
Stevie, As time goes by stared "Judi Dench" she has many credits to her name including Die Another Day (2002) is the twentieth spy film in the James Bond series, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. the show was about her and her lost love. it is one of BBC's best
Feb. 14, 2013 7:11 pm
Do you have a local PBS station? They usually run one evening of Brit comedy each week. The Fat Ladies are on the Cooking Channel late at night. It is good entertainment even though some of those shows date back to the 70s and 80s.
Feb. 14, 2013 8:29 pm
manella, happy that you had a great trip! Weather went yucky last week or two, but sunny and 70 today. Looking forward to a nice spring. Be well!
Feb. 14, 2013 8:35 pm
King, thanks for the info, I'll be sure to look up the link. Be well!
Feb. 14, 2013 8:37 pm
BigShotsMom, yes we do have PBS, currently showing Downton Abbey... also where I've watched a number of Brit-coms! Will look for the Fat Ladies - didn't one of them pass away some time back? Be well, and thanks!
Feb. 15, 2013 6:26 am
Love PBS and its British shows. Love the humor. The Fat Lady that passed was the one that drove the motorcycle, I think. The dark haired one.
Feb. 19, 2013 9:00 pm
Thanks, Cat!
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Stevie crazycook

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About Me
Started cooking many years ago, and learned as I went. First meal may have been "steak & chips" at age 15, in Birmingham England, where I lived for several years. Mostly grew up in MI, transplanted to the desert 30yrs ago, or so. Favorite cookbook is "Better Homes", also enjoy "Great British Cooking, a well kept secret." Hesitate to call myself "expert," but friends do rave...
My favorite things to cook
Italian has been my "specialty" for some time, and my "signature" meal is Lasagne, salad, garlic bread, which I first made 20yrs ago... from SCRATCH, very first time I made it. (Never again, folks...) Now start with a big jar of sauce!
My favorite family cooking traditions
Thanks to my heritage, I have enjoyed trying foods from different cultures. We still have beer battered fish, and chips of course; ground meat dishes often, chicken occasionally, pork too. I would love to submit a bean dip recipe, however, my ex who gave me the original has passed, and I have no way to verify that it didn't come from another source! I also enjoy British cooking (with a few yankee twists) and once made Plum puddings, also known as Christmas puddings, as far as I know... what an ordeal that was, but well worth the effort. Today, there is mail order!
My cooking triumphs
Greatest triumph was not too long ago, when I held a sit down dinner for 12, Lasagne being the entree. It was a fund raiser I chose to sponsor, and am proud to say that "we" raised over $1000 from that meal alone, minimum donation being $25. All proceeds collected were donated; my partner and I provided the meal and beverages.
My cooking tragedies
MEATLOAF of all things! Went through a stage of "winging" it each time, and I pulled one after another out of the oven that were almost unedible. As yet, not too big on baking... no sweet tooth here! Have dabbled, but find doughs/pastries especially difficult, perhaps as it's 90 degrees in my kitchen much of the year.
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