All Kinds of Envy

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I've recently taken this book out of our local library – "Ladies a Plate" by Alexa Johnson, and I am envious. It's not just a case of culinary envy, but china envy, cookbook envy and even embroidered linen envy.

“Ladies a Plate” is a very antipodean phrase that was tagged to the bottom of many invites. I can remember it on the school notice announcing the annual end of year production. It's code for “make that signature dish of finger food you want people to reminisce about at your funeral”. This book of full of those recipes, and each dish has it's own little introduction and photo. It's a social history of your Nana's tea parties.

You might have guessed, I'm a bit of a china floozy, and this book is full of luscious china that your grandmother might have owned. Some would say that owning 5 different tea sets is going over board. I would say that it is being prepared. Ms Johnson looks to be well prepared indeed with different china in almost every picture.

As for cookbook envy, the recipes are a culmination of testing endless variations in community cookbooks. We used to save these book from second hand shops, take them home and admire the old fashioned recipes. Each recipe is credited with it's source. Never did I dream that someone would test and compare them all for me and let me know which was best, without omitting that Elizabeth Messenger's variation in 1957 was pretty good too. You'd also be pleased to know that Mrs S Dunphy, of the Chocolate Caramel Fingers recipe fame, still cooks for the Tokoroa Hospital Cafeteria.

Each time I catch a glimpse of a new piece of embroidered linen in the photos, I just want to whisk it home to line my glory box. Then again, it is wonderful to see it out in the light of day getting used on almost every page.

We've been testing the recipes too. You have to be quick around here. My dearest was able to whip up some afghans before I'd even decided what to bake. Then, as I stocked the pantry to make bumble bees, the coconut disappeared into a batch of coconut whispers. I finally got to test my hand at the chocolate caramel fingers. The recipe is great, you can get a sneak peak at the recipe over here. I wasn't fast enough with the camera either. I missed the coconut whispers and chocolate caramel fingers but I did catch an afghan disappearing.

Little e agrees, the recipes are very good.

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  1. I'm like you....eye up the plates and the is a lovely book...I have a yellow plate just like yours and a matching green one! I love little E's face! xx

  2. If you ever come to my house, I know exactly what I'm going to make, and what plate I'll put it on, and what table cloth will be on the table.

    I hope you do come to my house one day!

  3. I have just seen this book on the shop shelves so will definitely try the library once we join! I remember the first time I was asked to bring a plate and I went home to Craig and said how strange it was that all they wanted me to bring was a plate - literally I thought it was just a plate! x

  4. what a gorgeous book! I too love old fashioned table linen and china - I've been buying a few 50s tablecloths on ebay lately - very satisfying. Now I'll need this book to whip up the appropriate tea treats. As for missing out - they look like pretty cute chocolate fingers to me!

  5. definitely a gorgeous book with the yummiest recipes, loveliest china and table linen. Love the look of enjoyment on little E's face, very sweet!


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