25 June 2009

First Slice Your Cookbook

For over thirty years, Lady Arabella Boxer has written about food. Her first cookbook, First Slice Your Cookbook is a novelty of design. In fact, it was designed by her husband, Mark. This is not the only cookbook with this mix-and-match style we have featured. In January we wrote about another cookbook following this approach, Million Menus. Fortunately, First Slice Your Cookbook is a much better example of this novel style. The main reason for this would have to be the choice of desserts. Lady Boxer relies heavily on simple fruit dishes for her final course. In addition, Hugh Johnson made wine suggestion for the main courses.

She also ranks the dishes by color to aid in balanced choices.

Red Pages = Richness
Blue Page = Simple

Grey Pages = Intermediate
Olive Green Pages = Filling

Here are Lady Boxer 's thoughts on this book:

"My career had started almost by chance when, in 1964, my then husband Mark Boxer had an idea for a cookbook cut in three horizontal sections, using stiff paper on a spiral binding - this enabled the reader to assemble a three-course meal on one spread."

"A colour-coding system was incorporated to help beginners to plan well-balanced menus and avoid the over-rich meals that were a feature of the time. British cooks were still revelling in an abundance of materials that had not been freely available since before the war."

"So, in First Slice, I tried to persuade cooks to plan their meals so as to include no more than one 'rich' dish at a time. "

"Food fashions have changed since 1964: we are more concerned with eating wisely, using oil rather than butter and cutting down on cream and rich food. The unctuous sauces of French haute cuisine no longer seem desirable; nouvelle cuisine helped us break that habit if it did little else. Nevertheless, if you hanker after the rich foods of your youth, or if you're planning a retro dinner party, then my recipes for a Sixties menu should help reel in the years. Just don't blame me if you need to reach for the Alka Seltzer afterwards." *
One of my favorite "fruity" deserts is this one for pears.
Carmel Pears

6 pears (not too ripe)
1/4 lb brown sugar
3 oz butter
1/4 pt double cream

Peel and core the pears and cut in quarters. Butter a fireproof dish and lay the pears in it. Dot with the butter cut in small pieces and shake the sugar over. Bake in a quick oven (No 6) until the pears are soft and sugar caramelized. Baste now and then, Take out of the oven, drain the pears, place them in a clean dish and keep warm, Allow the sauce to cool slightly, then pour in the cream, Mix well with the butter and sugar until a smooth caramel sauce is obtained and pour over the pears. Serve warm.

A No 6 oven is quite hot, 400 F.

* All quotes are from a January 2000 article in Waitrose Food Illustrated.


  1. Always willing to take in orphaned cookbooks. lucindaville@gmail.com


Blog Widget by LinkWithin