They Can't Ration These

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.

No comments: