How To Cook A Husband recipe uncovered by Derbyshire auction house

A recipe book from 1911 which tells you ‘How To Cook A Husband’ has been uncovered by a Derbyshire auction house.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 16th August 2021, 9:53 am

The 110-year-old book entitled ‘250 Tried Recipes for Everyday Use’ shares numerous recipes supplied by housewives around the UK including Derbyshire.

The opening page is dominated by ‘The Dowager Lady Burton’s Recipes’ - Gingerbread Cakes, Beef Cheek Pie and White Devil. All recipes are cooked down to the most basic of instructions - one paragraph.

Pudding recipes dominate the pages such as Biscuit Pudding, Canary Pudding and Forget-Me-Not Pudding. Other recipes include Cheese Custard from A E Johnson of Tutbury and Cheese Darioles (another cheese custard-style dish) from Mrs Booth of Foston Hall, Derby.

Isabel Murtough, head of fine art at Hansons, with the recipe book.

But the final recipe really takes the biscuit – How To Cook A Husband by Mrs Perfect of Highclere, Stapenhill, in Staffordshire.

She wrote: ‘A good many husbands are utterly spoiled in the cooking by mismanagement. Some women keep their husbands constantly in hot water, others let them freeze by indifference and carelessness, some keep them in a stew by irritating ways and words, others roast them, some keep them in pickle all their lives.

‘You cannot expect them tender and good if mismanaged in this way but they are really delicious when properly treated.

‘In selecting a husband do not go to market for him, as the best are always brought to your door. See the linen in which you wrap him is properly washed and mended with the required number of buttons and strings tightly sewn on.

‘Tie him in the kettle with a strong cord called ‘comfort’ as the one called ‘duty’ is apt to be weak. If he splutters and fusses do not be anxious - some husbands do this until they are ‘done’. Add a little sugar in the form of what confectioners call ‘kisses’, but no vinegar or pepper on any account. A little spice improves them but it must be used with judgement’.

Charles Hanson, owner of Hansons Auctioneers, whose headquarters is in Etwall, said: “This really made me smile. A cheeky and fun culinary surprise to savour on the final page from Mrs Perfect. This recipe book is a quirky little discovery and one many keen cooks might like to add to their repertoire.”

‘250 Tried Recipes for Everyday Use’ is due to be sold online in Hansons Auctioneers’ August 19-24 Antiques and Collectors Auction, estimate £30-£50.