22 July 2009

The Reluctant Cook

I must confess I don’t know any biographical information on Ethelind Fearon. I do know that I love her. I have grown to thinking of her as looking like Alex Jardine’s drawing of the women that grace her books. A kind of retro Jane Jetson in an apron and always holding a drink or a cigarette.

Her books were published in the late forties and early fifties. She wrote several, including The Reluctant Cook, for a series called The Home Entertaining Series. Entertaining is the operative word, as Ethelind Fearon is about as entertaining as they come.

She tells us:

If you are hampered at every turn by tiresome complicated recipes: instructions to use half a dozen different containers or operations when one would do, I don’t wonder that you’re reluctant.
…the awful paraphernalia of cooking has turned many a stout heart from Mrs. Beeton to a tin.

If I can show you how to cook like an angel and only have one saucepan to wash up, that would be different, wouldn’t it?

Ethelind Fearon's geography of soup:

Soup in England means either something out of a packet or that you have had a ham and don’t know what to do with the bone.

In France it is a bit of yellow gourd, some onions, a few wisps of odd things which look like weeds, and a bit of vermicelli, all bound together with hot water.

Here is a recipe for a "bold" salad from the mind of Ethelind Fearon:


Salad like soup can be anything. If you choose to serve cold rice pudding and stewed prunes, with a garnish of lettuce leaves and dressing of lemon juice and oil, as a salad, no one could contradict you. I know because I’ve done it, but you need courage, a knowledge of the inadequacies of your opponent (which is more potent armor than any courage), and a few green olives and radishes cut into the shape of fusicia stuck on top. It’s a masterpiece, and the finest known method of disposing of cold rice pudding.

It is also unorthodox and cannot be advocated as a standard practice, only as an example of how fortune favors the bold.

There is no bolder voice than Ethelind Fearon, so grab that cold rice pudding and whip up a salad. Check out her advice for the Hostess at Lucindaville’s Etiquette Wednesday.

1 comment:

  1. I have researched Ethelind Fearon and have her birth, marriage and death information. Also her children and where she lived at some times ie 8 years in France. If interested contact me irkennethis@ntlworld.com


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