I got an excellent cook book yesterday whilst charity shopping. For just 50p I got 1970's treasure - "Step by step cookery" by Marguerite Patten, published by Hamlyn. The edition I've got was published in 1977 and is packed with several hundred recipes, ranging from unusual canapés to a vast array of steamed puddings, preserves, casseroles, sweets and pretty much everything else. It gives detailed steps (often with pictures) for different preparation methods and has clear diagrams for things like wrapping a pudding bowl and how best to use cheap cuts of meat.
The 70's recipes are frequently bizarre and you've got to love that. Add in the full colour pictures of such unusual concoctions as prawn and grapefruit salad starter and savoury sandwich gateaux (it really is a gateaux made of sandwiches)and it's both fascinating and very useful. It even tells the reader how to make a good cup of tea.
I love how different this book is from modern cook books. Many of the recipes have completely gone out of fashion and as a result it provides a whole new range of recipes that a totally unfamiliar.
But my Favourite thing about the book is that it has a recipe for vol-au-vaunts and all the mysterious, gooey filling I remember from the wedding buffets of my childhood. I finally know what the creamy mushroom, chicken and salmon fillings are made of and can re-create them at home. Actually, I can't wait and am looking forward to turning out a bank holiday batch straight away.