Store Barm or Yeast

When I first looked through the recipe books, with starting a blog in mind, I thought that I would be making a lot of cakes and puddings. Certainly, the recipes from Harriet’s books have so far backed up this notion. However, Althea’s book in particular is proving to throw up some rather more fascinating and challenging recipes; first we had North Country Curds and then, turning to the next page, I found ‘Store Barm or Yeast.’ My first thought was ‘What on earth is this?’ and, on reading through the recipe, I was none the wiser. What was she making?

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Queen Cakes

In my last post about Harriet, she was working as a servant to a vicar in rural Yorkshire. This recipe follows the pattern set by her previous ones: scribbled, abbreviated, difficult to read. The instructions she gives are brief and, despite her notebook being small, she manages to cram three recipes on to one page.

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North Country Curds

This is the first hand-written recipe in Althea’s book. It is dated to 1866 and credited to ‘M.N.’ in Liverpool. I presume that this is Mary Newton, Althea’s sister-in-law. The Newtons lived in Huskisson Street in Liverpool and Althea and her new husband were in neighbouring Catharine Street at this time.

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Victoria Buns

This recipe from Harriet is another hastily scribbled one, consisting of a list of ingredients and little else. I’m guessing that working as a domestic servant was not leaving her with much leisure time to perfect her recipes.

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Cold Fruit Pudding

The book containing this recipe has an inscription in its front cover, written by my grandmother, that says ‘Recipe Book belonging to our grandmother. A.M. Harrison, Newby Bridge and mother M.A.M. Fullmer, West Felton and Clifton Reynes.’ It’s difficult to work out who has written each recipe, as the handwriting in both is often similar. There are clues though to make me think that Maimie wrote a great deal of it. Althea‘s own, earlier book is very precise; pages are numbered, there is an index at the back and most of the recipes are dated and attributed to a person or publication. In contrast, there is no such order in this book, especially in the earlier pages. Several recipes have been copied directly from Althea’s book, which also leads me to think it likely to be her daughter’s.

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Excellent Gingerbread

This is the first recipe in Althea’s recipe book, stuck on the opposite page to the first, proper hand-written page. Underneath it, Althea has written her name ‘Althea N. Harrison‘ and the date ‘November 20th 1866.’ On the inside cover, in faint pencil, someone (probably her husband, James, after he was widowed) has written ‘Dear Althea’s Recipe Book‘ and ‘Catherine Street. 20th November 1866.’ The recipe is a newspaper cutting, and the only recipe in the book that is not hand-written.

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Tea Cakes

This recipe is from the first page of Harriet’s book. Inside the front cover, she has written her name, ‘Harriet Ibson’ and ‘1903, Huttons Ambo Vicarage.’ Harriet was 22. Two years previously she had been working in nearby Pickering as the maid for a widowed solicitor, so I presume that this was a similar position. She was employed by a Welsh vicar, Reverend John Griffiths, and his wife and three daughters.

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