Food & Drink #18: Patsy's Reflections

"Bloater Savories" is just one of the many unappetizing recipes you'll find in this incredible cookbook from 1946.  Patsy's Reflections: Learn to Cook by Pictures is nearly 200 pages of cooking instructions done in comic book form.  It's like a graphic novel about making sausages rolls and bacon pie.

Don't get me wrong, despite the fact that lard or grease is the key ingredient in nearly all these recipes, they are undoubtedly healthier than our modern day synthetic Frankenfoods. That being said, these are a still hilarious and amazingly dissimilar to what winds up on plates nowadays.  Take a look...

Among the many wonderful recipes illustrated in this book are Liver Hot Pot, Frizzled Beef, Corned Beef Toad-in-a-Hole, Knuckle of Lamb, Cold Meat Mould, Devilled Mutton, and Rabbit Custard Pie.

If I had a nickle for every time I needed a pickled beetroot....

Perhaps the scariest thing your mother-in-law could ever utter: "Better stop for a snack while you're here - I've got a tinned pudding, some dried egg and a jar of potted meat!"   Run, Patsy! Run like the wind!

Speaking of queer names - "a dessert spoonful"?

Yes, Patsy.  Eating coagulated milk is just as good as drinking it.

"What should we do tonight? I'm tired of doing the same old thing."
"Ever try stuffing a Swede?"
(awkward silence)

For your next dinner party, why not try Cabbage Cake?

Oh, yes.  Just what I wanted to see!  Honey, let's skip the movie tonight.

I've spared you the next panel where Dad "cuts through the skin, pulls out the neck with the head, and takes out the crop bag.  Next he loosens the entrails by working the fore finger round them...."

I know that if you saw what went into your McRib or McNuggets, the stuffed sheep's heart would look damn delicious.  And yet, this seems like something more suited for Fear Factor than our dinner table.

Your butcher just handed you two sheep's kidneys and you're wondering what you should do? Call the police.  This man is obviously a ticking time bomb.

Yes, milk is much too valuable to use in Peter's favorite dish.  Much better to jelly the milk and eat it plain.

I love this quote from Jimmy Dean:

"I used to help my granddaddy make sausage. He would mix it up in a cleaned-out washtub with his hands, no gloves. Man, if we did anything like that today, they would jack the jail up and throw us under it."

And I've saved the best for last...

If you'd like to download this entire book, simply click here.  You're welcome!

Also, I should mention this book was made in the UK.  There are those of you who read these recipes and make the conclusion that this isn't so much an indictment of 1940s cooking as it is an indictment of English cooking. Those of you may well be right.


  1. Egads! So glad I already ate breakfast before seeing these illustrations. I figured out about two panels in that this was from a British book. I don't know what's more disturbing about the Dressing a Chicken panel--the fact he's slicing into the chicken's neck, or that he won the poor bird in a raffle! Oh, and the lady exclaiming (I assume without sarcasm) "Just what we wanted to see." You can't make this stuff up.

    1. Absolutely disgusting. My first thought was, is this the most useless cookbook ever written? Then by the time I got to the very last panel, I started thinking how similar it was to what I once read about cooking in Britain during WWII. Right on cue I read the explanation that it was actually a British book. That explains it all. British cuisine can actually be very good if you do it right, but during WWII, the government circulated information about how to cook on a rationed wartime supply, and that allegedly screwed up British cooking for a very long time. One more time, though, yuck.

  2. I knew it was English as soon as I read "Pickled Beetroots are always useful." Actually, that's not true, I thought it was from Alabama. The "tinned pudding" gave it away. My brother is in England for the next 3 years, I think I'll send him this.

  3. The mention of "Toad in the Hole" gave it away for me.

  4. I had you at "savoury"...and in 1946, the English were still dealing with food shortages and rationing.
    (for a comic sense of what it was like, put the film A PRIVATE FUNCTION into your NetFlix queue)

  5. Mrs. Already looks like a dead ringer for Gold Meier.

  6. I can understand the need for "creative" recipes during times of food shortages... but the cheerfulness of Patsy preparing the Cabbage Cake is a stretch of believability!

  7. "Just what we wanted to see!" ?!?!?!?!?!

  8. "...forcemeat" My inner Beavis is going wild

  9. The lesson here is that all of our unhealthy foods we eat today aren't crap compared to the fatty filth they ate from the turn of the Century to the 1960s. Liberal politicians and Moose Obama can ban all the king sized sodas they want but the problem won't go away until you can get people off their butts.

  10. The mention of dried egg shows this was the UK under rationing. I'm told it was surprisingly good for baking.

    Food rationing in the UK was severe in the 1940s, even after WW2 ended (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rationing_in_the_United_Kingdom and http://www.homesweethomefront.co.uk/web_pages/hshf_rationing_pg.htm); meat was often rationed by price, and offal was cheap.

    Jars of pickled beetroot are still common in the UK (though home pickling is rarer), as are some forms of offal (eg "steak and kidney" pudding/pie does not use kidney beans :)

  11. Fisk Ellington Rutledge IIIJanuary 07, 2013

    Gosh fellows and gels, let's make the best of these tough times. Right!

  12. I have my Mother's original copy - well used - (from page 5 to 186 including battered index)!

    1. Thank goodness for common sense. I was brought up after WW11 and things were VERY tight for the ordinary family. You ate what was there or went hungry. The fact that a fair amount of fat was used didn't really affect us as our life was energetic and we had to accept cookery prep. without being pernickety. I was taught to skin a rabbit and dress and clean a chicken at a very early age.

  13. My grandfather ate cow brains and fried eggs, fried in pure lard every day for breakfast and lived to be nearly ninety! So suck it food nazis.
    Also whale meat is pretty good when eaten as sushi or sasemi.

  14. The download link isn't working. :(
    Can you email it?

  15. awwww, The link has fallen of the Face of the earth, would LOVE too see it again.
    My gran used to make 'Mock Chicken' during the ration years here in Australia 1940 at 1950 (for meat), In fact after reading this I'm off downstairs to make a batch!.
    Oh another WW2 factoid mt Dad told me, it was not until 1948 did he ever saw a Orange.