Persephone Books are now a long way from being a bibliophile’s secret. As they have expanded so also has the street they reside in transformed (Lambs Conduit Street, and a newly-opened branch in Kensington Church Street - for the better or for the worse is up for debate depending on your views re. gentrification). They Can’t Ration These (first published in 1940) is another in my list of ‘old school’ raw favourites. As the preface states ‘The object of this book is to show where to seek and how to use Nature’s larder, which in time of peace and plenty people overlook or ignore’. Not a truly ‘raw tome’ for featured amongst the pages: hare pâté; roast sparrow/starlings (eugh), and lots of boil this and simmer that. However, there are great chapters on foraging and some easily adaptable ideas. I was particularly struck by instructions for a violet-perfumed face powder (derived from iris roots), kernel butter (pound up small pine or fir kernels with butter – I’d substitute avocado), ink-making from oak-apples (also known as oak galls) and jewellery-making with barberries, hawthorn and blackthorn berries.
It’s not just my food that I like ‘unprocessed’. I like to make my own clothes too, so far as time allows. Whilst lucky enough not to suffer from skewed perceptions of body image via the mass media (and elsewhere), there is a little part of me that has always been seduced by the images on vintage sewing packets. I think for autumn/winter 2008 I’m going to go for the penultimate bottom right (love that deco hipline) and far right (ditto the ‘V’ shaped waistline).
I spied the first of the season’s greengages today , which are without doubt in my personal top five of favourite fruit . Last year’s raw plum cheesecake (pictured) was such a success that a greengage version is called for this year. (I used the recipe from I Am Grateful).
Another old-school raw favourite: Dick Gregory’s Natural Diet for Folks Who Eat: Cookin’ With Mother Nature (New York, 1973). Mother Nature being the ‘solar oven’. Lots to say about juice feasting and especially water fasting. I like the following: ‘Isn’t it odd that some folks refer to drinking too much alcohol as “getting juiced”? Of course, if they really got juiced more often, with raw fruit and vegetable juices, they’d soon lose their taste for alcohol’. Thankfully, I’ve never been a big (alcoholic) drinker.