I am indebted to Ian R Gee, who mailed me Cooking With Men in Mind by Betty Hitchcock, published by Queen Anne Press for Gallaher Ltd, as part of their ‘Park Drive Leisure Library’. Neither of us has ever seen a cook book promoting a cigarette brand, before.

There isn’t a publication date and Ian has guessed 1960s. That’s a good guess, looking at the T & G Green blue and white stripe Cornishware on the table.

I’m opting for the 1970s for four reasons: (a) possible Hornsea teapot and tray (b) rack of Schwartz herbs and spices (c) pine clad walls (d) checked tablecloth and curtains which with (c) may be an attempt at Scandi style, long before hygge and IKEA reached our shores.

Betty Hitchcock has crammed 200 recipes into 136 pages, along with 21 pages of basic cookery info and 16 photos. As the photos are black and white, there wasn’t any point in doing this.

kitchen with window
Photo by Charlotte May on

Betty kicks off the book with a page on weights, measures and temperatures. Although the oven temperatures appear in fahrenheit and gas marks only, there are a few Imperial to metric conversions. This lends further credence to a 1970s time period. 3.5 oz = 100g and 8 oz = 227g which immediately explains why pots of double cream come in such awkward sizes.

kitchen knife on gray counter
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on

Ms Hitchcock helps out those without scales or measuring jug, giving approximate quantities. 16 tablesoons = half a pint and 2 level tablespoons of fat = 1 oz. The question is, whether our teaspoons, for example are metric or Imperial ?

There’s a glossary of English cookery terms and another for French terms, which includes a description of mayonnaise.

The guide to cooking skills commences with baking eg lining cake tins and making pastry decorations. before moving on to frying temperatures.

A table is given which sets out how many ounces per person should be bought by a shopper, including 12 oz per person for marrow and broad beans and 1/2 to 3/4 of a pound of unboned meat per person.

person standing on weighing scale
Photo by Ksenia Chernaya on

After navigating through pastry, sauces, batter and icings, we come to the first recipes. Betty Hitchcock states: ” Most men prefer the savoury part of the meal and if it is a meat course so much the better ”

The section entitled Meat Appeal is very plain, traditional food: Irish stew, steak and kidney pudding toad in the hole, veal and ham pie and oxtail stew, for example.

There are just two low carb recipes in this section – Lancashire Hot Pot (sub swede, turnips or celeriac for potatoes) and Chicken with tarragon which is made in a casserole with roasting chicken, fresh tarragon, thyme, butter, spring onions and thickened with eggs and double cream. The recipe instructs one to ‘chill the chicken and serve sliced with the cold sauce’. The danger zone for bacteria is between 65C and 6C so I would recommend serving this as a hot dish.

‘Homely Puddings’ contains nothing low carb other than Chocolate sauce, made with chocolate, milk and butter.

‘Savoury and Picnic Meals’ includes Liver pâté, hare terrine, chicken liver pâté, potted prawns, stuffed eggs (hold the bread and butter), stuffed tomatoes and moussaka, served hot or cold.

plaid with fruits and straw hat in field
Photo by Sunsetoned on

‘ Throwing a party’ says that food should be chosen which can be eaten with a spoon or fork. Chicken Marengo, Burgundy beef, cassoulet, curried turkey, veal goulash, chilli con carne and stuffed baked potatoes don’t always seem to fit that criterium. Spaghetti Bolognese can be tweaked by use of spiralised courgette, spaghetti squash or konjac pasta.

‘Breakfasts and Hurry Meals’ includes: boiled eggs, scrambled eggs, cheese omelette, savoury eggs en cocotte, breakfast herring, poached egg on haddock (hold the toast).

Photo by Théroigne S B G Russell

Next comes a chapter on suppers for two, which include Mixed grill (hold the frozen chips and sub swede or turnip oven chips), grilled fillet steak (hold the crisps), grilled sole, grilled lamb chops with mint sauce, curried chicken (hold the sugar and sub konjac rice or cauliflower rice for long-grain rice) plus green salad with French dressing, ratatouille, quick tomato sauce and chocolate sauce.

grilled meat on charcoal grill
Photo by Алекке Блажин on

‘Father Takes Over’ shows how to build a brick barbecue,and gives recipes for: barbecued sausages, pork and lamb chops, hamburgers, chicken legs, bacon rashers, trout, kidneys and herrings. Mustard sauce, barbecue sauce, Zizzy sauce, and bases for dips using Demi Sel cheese, scrambled eggs and horseradish complete the barbecue food.

fried strips of meat on white surface
Photo by Polina Tankilevitch on

This book is suitable for people who want traditional home cooking. It includes a lot of cakes and puddings which often sound scrumptious, even though they aren’t low carb.

Many of the recipes include flour but the adventurous low carber may find a way around this, for some recipes.

If you come across this book, there are about 40/200 low carb or tweakable recipes. Certainly, being able to build a barbecue is a moneysaving idea.

We are going to try a few recipes including poached eggs on haddock, tarragon chicken, Lancashire hotpot and breakfast herring. I’d like to try hare terrine if we can buy one.

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