Saturday, 4 March 2017

Mrs Beeton was Right!

I read cookbooks.  I rarely use them, but I read them.  I have even tackled Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.  For those who are not familiar with her work, she wrote a cookbook in the mid nineteenth century which was around three inches thick and very stern about the failings of servants, the wasteful nature of cooks and the importance of the lady of the house Running Things Properly.  There's a whole section of pictures on Wiki Commons.  Here's one of them.

  

There is, of course, a chapter on How Best to Purchase Food.  There was in all nineteenth century cookbooks and that sort of chapter still turns up in many cookbooks today.  I don't think it's a bad idea.  Of course, she includes the importance of checking for bone meal and alum in bread which isn't as important today, but there is a lot of sensible advice, because humans have not changed their nature much in the last 150 years, and people will be people.

One of the pieces of advice I remember is her stern warning to test the local tradesmen by ordering the meat as usual for a month or so and then carefully comparing the tickets.  She said that it wasn't unusual for the price of meat to creep up by pennies and halfpennies when the butcher was sure of the custom.  I was checking my Amazon 'Subscribe and Save' account.  I was tepid about it anyway as I thought I could end up buying for buying's sake, but they had the Nairn gluten free oatcakes on it.  I love the oatcakes, they are a real staple for me but they are not inexpensive and practically never on sale.  If I got them on subscribe and sale then it would work out at a little less expensive.  In every store and supermarket I've seen they are £1.50 a pack.  I knew I was only saving pennies, but because I have them so often I thought it worth while over a period of time.  About six months ago I decided to subscribe and save for the Nairns oatcakes.  Today I checked and even with the discount they had gone up to £1.65 a pack and the packs at the supermarkets were still at £1.50!

Mrs Beeton was right.  You cannot relax your vigilance for a moment!

1 comment:

  1. Great advise! I don't think places seem to appreciate loyal customers anymore. If you move around seems you get great deals for new customers - loyal customers, not so much.

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