The Harvest Pantry by Barbara Beckett

20 Nov 2008


Last week while I was sniffing around the op shop looking for hand knitted woollies, but of course checking out the books as well, I noticed a copy of
"The Harvest Pantry" by Barbara Beckett.

I bought a copy of this book as a Christmas present for myself in December 1993.
It's a gorgeous book full of many many wonderful recipes for terrific things to stock your pantry and freezer ; jams, pickles chutneys, cordials, stocks, mustards, sorbets, breads , EVERYTHING.
It is such an inspirational book.

The first chapter begins with this:
" A pantry is an ancient tradition - and so is cooking by combining fresh ingredients with preserved foods and condiments. A pantry was normally a separate room, cool and dark, set aside for storing foodstuffs. It wasn't until very recently that the pantry was abandoned and packaged and fast foods began to displace traditional habits. At the same time women aspired to work outside the home and an unsettling period for home-cooked food began. Ironically. scientists began studying human nutrition and began to realise that many of the old peasant cuisines were healthier for us"

So, back to the op shop .
I didn't buy the book, I already have a copy so I thought I was being greedy and it would be a wonderful find for someone else.
When I went back on Monday the book was still there.
Everyone else had had their chance so I bought it for the princely sum of $2.25 and decided to give it away on my blog.

If you check out Amazon and Alibris you will find that this books sells for incredible prices considering it was less than $20 when it was first published.
I am not sure why it is so expensive but it is out of print and it is a terrific book.

To be honest I did think about selling it on ebay but truthfully if any of you lived just around the corner I would have just given it to you anyway so why bother being greedy.
This book really is a must for anyone interested in make their kitchen as self sufficent and inventive as possible.

So although I had a give away not so long ago I do want to share this book with you.


I am also including this little knitting book from the 1960s because I have an extra copy of it and it has lots of classics knits for little people.


So that is the give away:
"The Harvest Pantry" by Barba
ra Beckett and "Favourite Designs for Toddlers" a Patons vintage knitting book.

If you want to be in the draw you need to leave a comment with a childhood memory about homemade food or homemade clothes.

Here are a few pictures to take you back down memory lane to the days of incredibly bad Mum hair cuts and gorgeous handknits for every occasion.

Have fun!

I'm looking forward to reading all your precious memories.

The draw will stay open until 27th November.

Think of this as an early Christmas present.






81 Responses to “The Harvest Pantry by Barbara Beckett”

  1. What a lovely giveaway. My childhood memory about food would be staying with my Grandma and Grandpa on their farm and spending time with my Grandma in her large country kitchen.She had a great pantry with lots of interesting things and bottled her own fruit and tomatoes/beans and had little biscuits in jars and a freezer with meat from the farm etc.She was a great cook and taught me many things. Thanks for letting me share. Angela

  2. Wow-- thankyou for doing this giveaway!!I have such wonderful memories of homemade cooking and homemade clothes so I will share both!

    My Nana is a champion knitter and so is my Mum. They began knitting for all of us before we were born and continued for many years after. Even now- a great grandmother- my Nana knits for all the new arrivals. My favourite 'Nana knits; were twin sets. (vest and cardigan) When I was four I had three-- periwinkle blue, navy blue and red. My mum made me matching pleated tartan skirts to wear with each and I remember skipping down the road to kindergarten wearing them with white crochet socks and black leather shoes. I made sure I had matching ribbons for my hair.

    My Grandma had a pear tree and an apple tree in her garden. Grandma and Grandad worked together to make apple pies from scratch using their own fruit. When we arrived to visit, Grandad always had flour allover him from making the pastry and they both smelled like apple pie. Whenever I smell apple pie I think of my grandparents.

  3. Although my mother was a great seamstress and we four girls often were dressed alike in matching dresses my best memory was of my mother making a miniature pair of blue corderoy overalls for my doll!
    It was done on a whim. She rarely did things like that and I loved them. I certainly didn't enjoying the matching dress scene so much as I was the oldest and some ten years between myself and the youngest. Matching dresses with a two year old, yuck!

  4. As a child, my Mum would scour jumble sales in 'posh' areas to find ladies' garments made from beautiful fabrics. She would bring them home, dismantle them and launder the pieces. These she would then re-invent into clothes for my sisters and myself. I can still 'feel' a little linen dress she made for me - such gorgeous fabric and all that hand-finishing...what patience she must have had! Frugality and recycling were a necessity in our household, but we never felt under-privileged or poor, just very lucky to have a Mum who could knit and sew to keep us warm and comfortable. Sue. x

  5. Oh, I love give-aways. I am 62 years old and have lots of fond memories. My mom was a fantastic cook, she knit and crocheted beautifully and could sew up a storm. We always had warm hats, mitts, and sweaters.Angora was used for special items. Mom even knit suits for herself, in very fine and beautiful yarn. We always had jars of homemade goodness in our pantry: applesauce, tomato sauce, peppers,peaches, jams, etc. When I moved from the USA to Canada (I was 22), my mom mailed me a jar of homemade ravioli!! We are of Ialian descent, hence the ravioli.
    My parents both passed away this year, but the love they gave us is always in our hearts. Hugs, Rosemary

  6. One of my favorite childhood memories is coming home from school and my mom had baked a spice cake. Ooohh the smell of it wafted around, it was so delightful! I don't remember how it tasted, just that smell and the brown butter icingon top. Oh yum. I might have to dig out her "vintage" Betty Crocker Cookbook to make it myself.

    What a fabulous give away.

  7. Nice give away. I have good memories of my father waking my brother, sister and I on Sunday mornings and walking us to Dunkin Donuts. After a donut and chocolate milk he would take us to the park for running and swinging. He is past away now but I still think of him walking us there holding my hand and swinging me at the park.

  8. My late mother made a lot of ours clothes - she was an excellent seamstress but hated every minute of it!!!

    I remember going to kindy in a gorgeous yellow dress she whipped up the day before with little pink and blue lambs around the bottom of it. Then there was the black dress with what I thought were firefly trails all over it with puffed sleeves that she made me for the Sugar Cane Festival parade. And finally the mauve pants suit (hey it was the 70s okay??) with wondeful braid around the square neckline and across the bottom of the pants.

    Why these three things today?? I saw a pattern in one of the latest quilting magazines using fabric that reminded me of those lambs,.

    I dyed a piece of fabric yesterday with some beetroot leaves and it came out all dark brown and streaky kind of like that parade dress.

    And this morning I am sewing braid on the bottom of a pair of pants I am making for daisygirl.

    When these things happen I like to think my mother is close by watching what I do.

    Please enter me in the draw


  9. Homemade food - Dad making homemade ice-cream using the cream from our own cows (didn't work and he burnt the toffee pieces he was going mix into the ice-cream)He was successful at making homemade butter. Sewing - Mum making dresses for my dolls and dressing my sister and I in the same pattern and the same material!!!!xx

  10. I have to say my memories of homemade clothes has only grown as I have become an adult. I didn't really like the idea as a teen, but as a mom the classic look of girl/boy clothes is very comforting.

    Homemade food on the other hand is definitely a passion of mine, and I am sure it's because my mom is an excellent cook. I enjoy have a stocked pantry, so that I can make anything my mind comes up with....

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane.


  11. So many wonderful memories. A pantry with a cookie jar filled with molasses cookies. Somehow the recipe was lost. I finally found one that is equally good in the Susan Branch cookbook CHRISTMAS JOY. Yum.
    Mother also sewed - clothes, drapes, bedspreads, you name it she could make it and it all looked professionally made. She made curtains for my dorm room in college and for my first kitchen after marriage. I too sew but not with the same amount of talent she had. I'd love to be able sit and have a cup of tea and a molasses cookie with her today.
    Now I try to create memories for my granddaughter.

  12. I'm lucky enough to come from a long line of Baking women. Our childhood was filled with homemade biscuits, cakes and mostly, slices. (oh the humble slice has been relegated to a memory for many!. Two things were a certainty for me growing up. 1. Mum was always home when i got home from school, and 2. There was always something yummy to eat - usually fresh and hot from the oven.


  13. What a lovely giveaway.
    My childhood memory about food is also about staying with my Grandparents and bottling/preserving fruit with them. They would do Peaches, Pears and Plums. I remember going and picking the plums with them.
    We would always eat bottled fruit with our breakfast and with ice-cream for dessert when we stayed with my Grandparents. Grandma also made wonderful tomato relish which she served with cold meats and cheese.
    They had big cupboards and shelving in their laundry room which were stacked with wonderful jars of fruit and other preserves.

    I also remember Grandma sewing and knitting for us. I love the skirts she sewed for my sister and I, all the dolls clothes she sewed for us and helped us to make. She knitted dolls clothes too. I still have them and my children play with them now.

    Thankyou. Louise in NZ

  14. With 3 daughters my Mum was almost constantly on the sewing machine or knitting something for one of us.
    Being the youngest of the 3 I ususally got the hand me downs so it was always a special thrill to get something that was made just for me.
    One very special memory was getting a bride doll(remember them?) for my 5th birthday with a beautiful handmade white dress and a little knitted going away jacket. Oh how I treasured that doll.
    My Mum also grew almost all our vegies and I can remember coming home from school to find her standing in the vegie patch with her colander under her arm deciding what to pick for that nights dinner.
    Our house was always spotless and there was always fresh cakes and biccies waiting for us. I do often wonder how on earth she did all that she did, and at 73 she is still growing all her own veg and knitting, for her great grandchild now!!

  15. I remember my mother canning tomoatos and peaches. My grandmother knitted everything you could imagine. I have a lovely picture of my sister and I in Easter dresses she knitted. They were the loveliest yellow. I must ask my mother if she still has them somewhere.
    What wonderful books to give away!

  16. Dearest Jenny, You are such a thoughtful person. I have many wonderful memories. I don't have to think back too far as I'm only 31. My grandmother whom I only lost 6 weeks ago was a wonderful knitter. All my school jumpers were knitted, so were my dolls clothes. I was lucky enough to inherit all her knitting needles and some patterns. I am only a beginner so I will have to practice lots. My mum made all our tracksuit pants for school.
    I love to sew (soft furnishings) but was never interested in sewing clothes until I recently made a dress for my daughter. I was so pleased with it that I am now hooked. I am making clothes for a doll I made for her for christmas. I have wonderful memories of my grandmothers kitchen. She lived in an area that grew peaches, nectarines, cherries etc. We used to go out to the orchards and pick our own. I remember she told me that they weigh you before you start picking and weigh you when your finished, (just to see how many you ate while you were picking)!!! I laugh everytime I think of this!! I loved her stewed cherries with some icecream. She made the best tomato relish and last year she taught me how to make it. So a couple of weeks ago I was really missing her so I deceided to make some. I even used her special wooden spoon she used. I'm sure it isn't as nice as hers. We have also made choko pickles together and stunk the house out. She was famous for her christmas cakes and had already made 6 for the family a couple of months ago just before she passed away. We have just about finished ours (my husband loves her xmas cake). The last piece is sitting in the fridge, I am trying to bring myself around to eating it, but it makes me too sad to think this will be the last time I taste something she has made. I actually found the receipe the other day she has wrote out for me last year.
    Thankyou for letting me share these wonderful memories.
    Take care & God bless

  17. What a lovely giveaway. My childhood memories about food is my grandmothers homemade icecream made with condensed milk and her teaching me how to knit and her famous breakfasts of cheese and pickle on toast.

  18. You've inspired me to pop in on the two op shops in Our Town, while I'm grocery shopping!

    What a lovely give away Jenny...the book sounds amazing.

    I have a storehouse of childhood memories about all things homemade. My mother made all of our clothes. Handknitted jumpers, pants, shorts, dresses, name it she made it all. My most precious homemade jumper though, is one my Granny knitted for me when I was 16yo. I still wear it. A nice thick 8 ply jumper is a must where I live!

    As for homemade food, my mother is a baking diva. I remember gingernut bikkies, yo-yo's, scones. I have to say though, Mum's sugar coated peanuts are to die for. She made them when we lived overseas and peanuts were cheap and plentiful. Every now and then I can con her into making them for me now. The ultimate comfort food in my mind!

  19. Great book - I'd love to win it and am happy to pay for postage! When I was little Mum and her cousin used to spend a week making heaps and heaps of apple pies for their freezers. Mum was gifted a box of HUGE apples from a neighbour and this was a great way to use them. We'd take an apple pie when we went to other poeple's houses for dinner and it was a weekly desert on a Sunday after a family roast. I hope I am able to instill such memories in the minds of my children!

  20. Well my mom made me several handmade outfits but I will never forget the one she made me for my fourth birthday....a beautiful red dress with tiny golden yellow flowers and a golden yellow pinafore to match!! I wore little braided piggy tails in my hair...aaahhh...the sweet memories. I wish I had that outfit..I don't know what ever happened to it :sigh:

  21. What a lovely pantry book, but I especially like the vintage knitting book!

    My mother didn't enjoy sewing much, but she once made me a little pink and blue striped skirt--I think it had clouds and little people on it--with suspenders of matching fabric. I loved that skirt!

    Her favorite cake to bake was chocolate mayonnaise cake. Sounds strange, but it tasted yummy.

  22. My Mum made our clothes when we were growing up. I have a distant memory of my brother and I matching, me in a gingham dress and my brother in a matching gingham shirt with brown shorts. Mum is also a great cook and I can remember coming home to fresh baked biscuits in the tin - there was never any packet ones like my friends mums had. I always thought we were so hard done by because we didn't have packet biscuits like all the other kids, I know now we were so lucky.

    I don't remember mum knitting us jumpers etc but I think our Nana did that.

    Tracie XX

  23. jenny, i have such happy memories of the matching skirts and knitted sweaters that my grandmother made for my sister and i, and also the long forest green calico maxi dresses we wore as flower girls in a dear friend's wedding in the 70's. my grandmother was always sewing or knitting or making something, and i am so grateful that she taught me so many of her skills...i wish i had her skill with knitting but that's one of the things that i never was able to do well.

    thank you for bringing these pleasant memories forth again :)

  24. This is a wonderful giveaway Jenny. A memory from my childhood involving handmade clothing is watching my mum painstakingly untangling her hair from the sewing machine handle. It became caught while she was making pyjamas for myself and my sister. I don't remember her doing much sewing before or after that incident but i wish she had.

  25. What a lovely looking book! I am very interested in learning to use my produce from the veggie patch to its best advantage especially when we have too much to eat fresh! The book would be a good read!

    Childhood memories.....

    When I was a small girl, probably around 3 or 4 when I was at kindergarten, my great grandmother hand sewed and did smocking on the front of a gorgeous little dress for me. I had my kindy photos taken in it.

    Now I have my own 3 year old. And my mother has kept that dress. Now my daughter wears the dress that her great great grandmother made. I cant say that about any shop bought article. I feel so special that she created something for me. and now i can pass that to my daughter, that a woman she never met, 4 generations older than her made this dress that she wears.

    it always makes me smile.

  26. My Mum made us lots of clothes and was a super knitter too. I especially remember a matching nightie and dressing gown set she made out of lovley light cotton with a pretty flower pattern Even the pearl buttons are clear in my memeory, it was so nice to wear in the summer.
    Thanks for offering such an interesting book.

  27. I don't know if people in Blighty can enter, but anyway I'd like to share my happy memories of my late Nana's apple pies. Mmmmmm. It was so different from home, as Mum used wholemeal flour and little sugar and chopped her apples. Nana used white flour, and left the apples in halves so they made little "humps". It was only years later that by accident I stumbled across Nana's "secret" for pastry - she used part self-raising flour. Now I can make pies like Nana's!

  28. I used to live in a house from the 1850s that had an old pantry with a deep counter under a window. I loved working at it.

    My grandmother got up early every morning (around 4 a.m.) and baked bread. We'd come downstairs to freshly baked bread on the table with a cinnamon and sugar shaker and a pot of porridge. It will always be my favorite breakfast.

  29. Good evening Jenny
    My Dad is a retired memories as a child is of Dad making Lambs Fry and he being the only one in the family that would eat it. Mum used to make yummy desserts, such as Golden Syrup Dumplings and puddings, until Dad said he was putting on to much weight! Mum still makes a delicious boiled fruit cake & every year Christmas puddings.
    Mum made my sisters & I matching dresses when we were young and she also made my Debutante Ball dress. It has been interesting to read all the comments that your readers are sharing. Thank you for the chance to enter the draw.

  30. What a great giveaway. I have so many memories of food and clothes. Some funny and some comforting. My Momma had to feed 10 or more children at all times on a very low budget. She was very resourceful. People can't believe one of her favorite desserts to fix us was to place a pear half on a plate put a spoonful of mayonaise on it and top that with grated cheese. We loved it. Almost all of my clothes were homemade until I was in junior high. I have a box of yoyo's my Momma gave to me some years back made out of the scraps from my and my sisters clothes. I can look at them now and remember whose outfit they were and what it was. Some day I hope to make a quilt out of the yoyo's.

  31. Jenny, Thank you for wanting to share such wonderful treasures!
    My most vivid clothing memory was the year my oldest brother graduated high school. My mother sat down and made 3 matching long dresses for my 2 sisters and I and a sleeveless blouse for herself-to wear to the ceremony. It had black background with large white daisies all over, the flowers had different color centers, pink, green, yellow. I have a large piece of the remaing fabric to help me remember!! We were very mod!
    My mother was the one who taught me how to cook. She gave me a cookbook to chose my own menu, took me shopping, and helped me when I didn't understand some term. And she never made fun of the bad results. I still remember her making fruitcake(American style). She made so many that she would purchase a brand new trash bin every Christmas to mix it in! The bin was recycled later, for trash. My brothers would do the stiring as they had longer arms, and us girls would do the chopping. We really had so much fun.

    Please enter my name in your drawing.
    Wendy Bussell, Denton, Texas

  32. Great gifts! I remember my paternal grandmother making poppy-seed kolaches - they were sooooo good - big, buttery-yeasty rolls with the poppyseed filling - I usually make them only for Christmas as they are rather time-consuming, but I remember her making them 2-3 times a month. She would always save me a poppyseed as she knew they were my favorite! Much love, Raquel XO

  33. What a neat idea!
    One of my earliest memories was of a car trip with my maternal grandparents. My little brother and I stayed with them while my mom had my baby brother. That means I would have been about 4 years old. This was before the big interstate highway was built, and my grandpa always said that 45 mph was fast enough for anyone, so what is now a 3 hour drive was a day trip! We stopped at a little roadside picnic table along the way for lunch, and I remember that we had my two favorite things. We each got half of a summer sausage sandwich, and half a piece of bread with butter and strawberry jam. My grandparents made the summer sausage each winter when they butchered, and grandma would slice it wafer thin and put it between two pieces of buttered bread. It had a wonderful hickory-smoked taste against the sweet butter. But the strawberry jam is what haunts me. I've not been able to replicate that. I can make her nutmeg sugar cookies, chicken & noodles, potato patties, and it's a stretch, but I can do her coffee cake. Last year my brothers and I even did a decent job with making and smoking summer sausage. But I haven't been able to buy or make a strawberry jam like hers!

  34. Hello Jenny and thank you so much for sharing. I remember green knitted slippers which were so much fun to skid along uncarpeted floors in

    I'm afraid my strongest home made food memory is of lemon sago: revolting little fish egg-like things floating in "lemon" gelatinous slime. Uggh! But I did love golden syrup dumplings and make them now for my children at least once a month.

  35. Oh I missed that there was a specific to the the childhood memory. Hopefully it will be ok to post again.

    When I was a little girl my mom made my sister and I matching quilted nightgowns. She lined them with sheets and quilted the skirt part of the gown with diagonal lines. There was a little placket on the front between the bodice and the skirt that she hand embroidered my name in red embroidery floss. The outer fabric of the gown was denim. I loved that nightgown. Our house was so cold in the winter and that gown was so warm. As it turns out. I got to wear that gown for years because my sister, who was 5 years older than me handed hers down when she grew out of it. My mother removed my sisters name from the placket and embroidered my name in.

  36. What special books you have offered to give away.Please include me in the drawing.
    I was born in 1935 and grew up during the depression and World War Two. We lived on a farm with my grandparents and my dear Grandma canned everything possible to carry us through the Winters. She canned jams and jellies, vegetables and fruit and even made her own catsup.

    My grandfather grew a HUGE garden and we had a large grape arbor that provided lovely shade to sit under on a hot day. We had electricity but no running water and every bit of water had to be carried in buckets from the well in the back yard. I can not remember ever hearing my grandmother be impatient, complain or use a harsh word. She kept a spotless house and did all that canning along with washing every bit of clothing for 5 people in a galvanized tub with a scrub board. She was a wonderful woman and gave me a great example to try to follow.

    One Christmas she made new dresses for each one of my five Dionne quintuplet dolls. She was a special lady.



  37. How exciting to win a couple of beautiful books!! My mom is a wonderful homemaker. I have SO many wonderful childhood memories. Growing up, we only had homemade meals. Back then, we rarely ate out. We had a big hot breakfast every morning and a warm, healthy supper together every evening. I associate cold, rainy, or snowy weather with yummy foods, because these were the days my mom would spend all day baking and cooking in the kitchen.

    As for sewing for us, Mom did that too. As I got older, I didn't really appreciate all of the matching dresses she made for my sister and I. But, as an adult, as I look back, I think of those clothes as more than a piece of clothing but as a token of her love. My FAVORITE thing she would sew for us was doll and barbie clothes. We were always the envy of all of our friends because we had SO many beautiful clothes for our dolls. This is something I've continued to do with my girls.

    I have thoroughly enjoyed reading about everyone else's memories as well!! How fun!!! ;)

  38. Lovely items to give away! My childhood food memory is baking with my Granny. She lived around the corner from us and from when I was 3 onwards, Mam used to see me across the road safely and I'd toddle on down to Grandma's. Butterfly buns were my favourite thing to make with her. She was very particular and at Christmas time she used to set me to work sorting through the raisins and sultanas to make sure there were no stray stalks left in them. And of course my favourite part was licking the mixing bowl!

  39. Wow, thank you for such a great give away. My grandmother lived on a farm and when I used to stay with her in the summer one of my best culinary memories is eating giant homegrown tomatoes with salt and a big glass of ice tea. She was a wonderful cook but I just couldn't get enough of those tomatoes. My mother also sewed many of my dresses and I am now reliving those dresses by using the same patterns she used to make dresses for my own girls.

  40. I have wonderful memories of the things that my Mom sewed for me when I was a little girl. Until I was almost a teenager, I thought all Easter dresses, Christmas dresses, Halloween costumes, etc. were supposed to be homemade and I felt sorry for those who had to have "store-bought" ones, when probably someone was feeling sorry for me in my homemade clothes, ha, ha. But my Mom is an excellent seamstress and my clothes were really well done. Also, I still love to think about my Grandma when I crochet, because she was the one who taught me. I am still using hot pads that she crocheted, and she passed away 20 years ago.

    Thanks for offering the books as a giveaway. That's really sweet of you. And thanks for causing me to think of some good memories from my childhood.

  41. What a great giveaway! I'd love to be entered:-)

    I always remember the smells of baked cookies from when I was little(before I took over the baking)...such a nice thing to come home to from school.
    I also remember my mom sewing me flannel nighties and little dresses that I wore until they turned into shirts. I wore them until they were too tight in the arms:-)

    Lots of love,

  42. What a fab giveaway Jenny! You're so good to us! I smiled when I read your comment on bad Mum haircuts...ah, such bittersweet memories! lol!

    My childhood memory is about a lovely stripey jumper my Mum made for me one Christmas. She just used oddments of pink and wine wool, but it came out so nice. She wrapped it up along with a pair of cosy wine-coloured cords...a new outfit...I loved it!

    love, Tina :)

  43. What a lovely giveaway! I have a pantry and toddlers.

    My favorite blanket from my childhood was a blue and white afghan my grandma crocheted for me. My brother had a similar one which never left his side. Unfortunately with all my many moves as a child it never stayed with me. Whenever I am at a thrift shop I am always drawn to the afghans. Searching for my lost blankie.

  44. Greetings Jenny~ What a wonderful give-away, and I like the sharing of memories! My Nana gave me many memories and one of the most fun for me was making noodles.
    First, she let me pour flour onto a large cutting board and make a crater in the centre then crack in whole eggs. I would then use a fork to incorporate all the flour until I had a dough that she liked. The fun began when we would roll the dough thinner and thinner until, as she would say, "you can read a newspaper through".
    Cutting that thin dough into lengthy strips with her large knife was her job. Then I got to help hang up 'spaghetti' on her clothes drying rack or roll 'soup noodles' into portions to store in an old coffee can labeled "Egg Noodles".
    Nowadays in my little kitchen, smells of coffee being brewed and the soup pot simmering away on the back of the stove bring my dear Nana back to me. What happy thoughts!

  45. What a wonderful drawing!!

    My mom was employed full time outside of the home when I was growing up in the 1950's and 1960's. However, she always had one weekday off, and I can still smell the aroma of the wonderful dinner she made on that day off, almost always in the pressure cooker. Pot roast and veggies, or a stewed chicken. The chicken was my favorite. After the chicken was cooked in the pressure cooker, she'd remove the bird and drop dough for big, fluffy dumplings into the juices still in the pot. Yummy!

  46. My childhood food memory is of trying to make my own toasted cheese sandwich. My parents always called it toasted cheese but my kids and I call it grilled cheese. So being that the name had the word 'toast' in it, I tried to make it in the toaster. I put one slice of bread in one side, and the other slice with the cheese stuck to it in the other side. As it toasted, the cheese melted and slipped down inside the toaster causing a great deal of smoke and one angry dad who grabbed the toaster and threw the smokey mess out the front door.

  47. Dear Jenny
    Thankyou for such a lovely opportunity,my memory is homemade bread by hand- no breadmachines in those days LOL. This was made by a lovely old man we lived with, I think he was a chef, he would make a week's worth of bread at one go, on the old plastic kitchen table. I would stand and watch, and even help if allowed to. Once I even got my own small mound of dough that I shaped into my own little bread. Even now when I smell yeast it instantly transports me back to that kitchen table. Aah such Heaven! Thanks Jenny

  48. Another giveaway! What fun. My favorite childhood food-related memory... mmm it's difficult to decide. I think it must be making eclairs with my Mom. I could never understand why there's air in those little buns! They were so delicious filled up with cream. Yum.

  49. My memories are of homemade knitted clothes..a good and a mother knitted for a shop, there was always left over wool, and she made me a gorgeous angora bolero, just like the one in one of the pics...I thought I looked like a princess. I can still remember how that wonderfully soft wool felt.

    Money was tight, and when I went to high school, my mum knitted my school jumper, she was an excellent knitter, and the jumper was beautiful, but I was given such a hard time about prefect picked on me constantly for " not being in uniform".

    I always felt proud to wear my mum's creations, she taught me to knit too, and in turn I knitted for my own kids.

    Thanks for your generous giveaway Jenni.


  50. Thank you for your thoughtful idea of a giveaway.

    I grew up in my parents lovely old home that still had funny little things like a walkthrough butler's pantry, actual cutlery drawers, and even an old coal room. However, my best memory of my mom's cooking is visiting the little jam closet. She had an actual room for storing all her preserves and jams and it was filled with them. It was a cool room, but the ruby jams, royal purple jellies, and golden marmalades almost glowed with the warmth of the summer and the love.


  51. When I was eight, my grandfather took me into the corn field, brought two chairs, and said "listen." At first, I heard nothing, but then a mild rustling started, even though the day was absolutely still. He said to me..."what do you think that sound is, Anna Marie?"
    "Is it animals, grandpa?"
    "No, no, not animals."
    "No, not that either."

    "Maybe," I laughed, "it is the sound of the corn growing."

    "I always knew you were a smart little girl," he said.

    Thanks for the giveaway Jenny.

    My best,

    Anna Marie

  52. My main homemade food memory is of what my mother made whenever it rained. If the rain came up suddenly in the afternoon, and she knew I'd get wet getting home, she would mix up a pancake batter - she would make large crepe like pancakes, sprinkle them with sugar & roll them up. Then she'd squeeze a lemon over the plate of rolled pancakes. Absolutely perfect to eat by the fire in the kitchen while drying off & getting warm.

    If the rain started earlier in the day & she had the time to soak the split peas & leave it to slowly cook all day, there would be a pot of pea & ham soup simmering on the back of the fire, and I would get a bowl to warm me up.

    If the rain set in for a few days, I'd get the best combination of pancakes the first day, then the soup the next day.

  53. Hi Jenny, I remember separate pantries. My grandma had one in her house. It always smelled lovely in there. It was about the size of a bathroom today and had hutch type cupboards with glass doors down each side. On the bottom doors were tin sides with little holes and some parts had mesh but my memory is hazy. We are up in north queensland, so I suppose insects and the heat would have been a problem. I also remember my grandparents old fridge that took big blocks of ice. And your mentioning bad haircits reminds me of the hideous haircuts with impossibly short fringes I was given in the sixties! No wonder I grew my hair as long as I could when I was old enough! Thank you for the giveaway I would love to read this book! Thank you for your blog, I read every day though I don't post much. Regards, Julia

  54. Hi Jenny ~ Thank you for doing, yet another, give-away.

    When I was seven my mother became pregnant with my little sister. She made a bunch of maternity dresses out of flowered calicos. After she gave birth, she transformed many of her maternity dresses into baby clothing. I did think it was a neat thing to do at the time and the age of seven. But, now I think she is a genius!

    Thanks again, Jenny.


  55. Wow...I would love the pantry book to share with my Dad as, although retired, he still has a wonderful veg patch where he grows loads of fruit & veg; it is the only place from where my son will ever eat a tomatoe!! My childhood memory is of a cardigan and an pair of long socks my Grandma knitted me for school, in bottle green wool. Bless her, she never knew that this cardi so lovingly knitted, was the reason I was bullied at school. The problem was that it was a rib knit, so on Monday it was newly washed and fitted perfectly but gradually, through the week the sleeves and the bottom of the garment stretched longer and longer and the socks continually fell Friday I looked like little orphan annie and was teased mercilessly by the other girls. Grandma did however make the most fantastic Bread Pudding moist and fruity, it was the perfect thing cut into slabs to have with a nice hot cup of Bovril as we came out of the cold English sea after hours of being tossed & turned on the icy waves, Grandma knitting away as she watched our antics every summer holiday down in Bognor Regis. Happy Kerry.

  56. I was blessed with a mother that always sewed for us. I remember favourite matching dresses for my sister and I when we went to the zoo (70s circus print!) When I went to school she made a matching uniform for my doll.
    We always had a vegie patch (and quite often acres of potatoes and pumpkins and corn) Now I live on a small 800 square block but the other day as we were eating homegrown cauliflower and broadbeans my four year old daughter said "You know, we are a bit like a farm Mum" (made my heart so glad!)
    Funny that my three favourite things to do with my sweet cherub are to cook, to garden, and to make handmade things - what a legacy my Mum has passed on.

  57. Dear Little Jenny Wren,

    I do enjoy your blog, both the words and the pictures. The pantry book and patterns you're giving away just seem alive with possibilities!

    Growing up, my Mum worked, so we ate fish fingers, and other "dreadful" (!) things. And we wore ugly polyester clothes from shops and jumble sales. The photographs are quite scary!

    But I had a knitty Nana who could knit the best socks and the most beautiful jumpers (sweaters). I still wear the last one she made me (10 years ago)on a regular basis.

    My knitty Nana could also bake the most delicious scones - rich currant scones served with real butter and real homemade jam from berries from Grandpa's allotment, or cheese scones, or for a real treat a Victoria Sponge Sandwich Cake with REAL whipped cream and more homemade jam. Mmmm! She didn't have a proper pantry, she just kept those sorts of things in the kitchen cupboards on the cold north wall of the kitchen. Lots of interesting jars, all with neat, handwritten labels.

    My knitty Nana made a lot of my Mum's clothes when she was growing up, including a dress made out of a brown parachute! Most of them were practical, but many were also very pretty. I wish she had lived closer, maybe I could have learned more...

    Please enter me in your drawing!
    Lorna in VA

  58. Dear Jenny,

    My memories of childhood, particualarly at this time of year, was comming home from school and the house filled with the smell of Christmas Cake. My mum baked these for all of the family (lots of Aunties and Uncles) also for neighbours. We had to make sure that we didn't slam any doors whilst the cakes were in the oven. This went on for weeks; but for me the best smell of all.

    I would love to be entered for the draw for this book as I think it will bring lots of memories back.

    Many Thanks,

    Jennifer Dee

  59. What a lovely thought to make this a giveaway. My own memories are sadly not happy ones of my childhood but because of that I've endeavoured to give my daughter the childhood I didn't have. It's made me appreciate her childhood in so many ways and I was able to see good things through her eyes which has helped me come to terms with my past. She's now 30 but often talks about her happy childhood and that feels so good to me. If I was lucky enough to win this draw I would be happy to pay the postage as I'm in the U.K.

  60. Dear Jenny:
    My favourite food memory relates to my grandparents who lived with us when I was young. My parents both worked full time in busy jobs which meant we children spent more time with our grandparents than usual and my gran kept house. My fondest memory was of her making us Spotted Dick. I remember being not quite tall enough to look over the counter top and she pulled out the bottom kitchen drawer for me to stand on. My favourite part was when she wrapped the pudding in a pillow case, tied it with string, ready to boil. It seemed great fun to me to think our pillow case was being pressed into service. The end result was delicious, thick creamy and rich.
    My grandad was a quiet man who said very little, but was always pleasant. At Xmas time he would make us aluminum trays of black toffee by his secret recipe. We children were only allowed to watch the stage when he popped the trays of mahogany liquid into the freezer. We could hardly wait till they were frozen and hard. Out they came and we slapped them against the counter to break into shattered pieces. Mmm, dark, sugary and rich, no other taste like it. A recipe his mother taught him when a child in England. Those are good memories for me.
    Jayne xo

  61. I've so enjoyed reading all these comments! My Grandma taught me to knit and we also embroidered a tray cloth together. She used to knit me and Sis jumpers and cardigans for school and made me a little apron. Everytime we arrived for a visit there were hot current buns and warm milk. My Grandma baked delicious cakes and pastries and was a skilled needlewoman, how I wish I had some of her needlework now but she died when I was a young teenager and lots of household items went to charity shops. She kept all sorts of wonderful fabrics for me to play dressing curtains were always bridal veils! I would have loved my daughter to have known her. Bee.

  62. I'm the eldest of 7. They had 5 of us before they were 25 years old. There was never much money and we usually wore hand-me-downs from my cousins. Mum longed for a sewing machine, but that was never going to be an option as they were rather expensive, and even second-hand ones were rare.
    One day a postcard advertisement for Helvetia sewing machines popped through the letter box. It described a new electric sewing machine, and as a kind of come-on it had the amazing offer that the first postcard back to them with a name and address on it would win one of the sewing machines.
    Mum was in a quandary.Should she risk the price of a stamp on this or not? She decided it was worth it, stuck the stamp on and posted it, or rather I did in, the letter box in front of next door's house.
    You've guessed it......she won the sewing machine.
    I remember well the hours she spent sewing frocks for us 4 girls, and for my cousin(she always made 5 of everything). They were very simple designs, just a bodice with a high neck, a plain gathered skirt, buttons up the back, and bias binding around the armholes and the neck. I used to do the hems by hand and she did the buttonholes in the evenings.
    She also made us wondrously thick wincyette nighties (I still have the pattern).
    She has Alzheimer's now.....but I have the memories, and the photos.

  63. Hi Jen, my childhood was way to fast and furious. I don't recall alot about my Mama cooking and sewing,etc.except she did sew some little dresses for my sister and I when we were very small. I have memories of staying with my Grandmother in the Summer. She was always canning and cooking ,so forth. She would pickle huge cucumbers and us kids loved those big sour pickles. I also remember her milking the cow,drinking fresh cows milk,taking baths in the horse troth. We had a lot of fun spending vacation time with Grandma,but I would always get terribly homesick after a couple of weeks.


  64. What a lovely giveaway! My mother did not sew for us much but I started making clothing for myself when I was about 12 and in 4-H. My first dashing item was a gathered skirt with an elastic waistband in green gingham check. I proudly wore that skirt! It had no shaping whatsoever and probably looked awful on me. I am also remembering that we ironed our hair ribbons even when we were in high school. I can't imagine kids doing that today. We also polished our shoes every day before school.

    My mother always put a full meal on the table, 3 times a day when everyone was home. Breakfast was hot with eggs, bacon, and toast. My dad thought cold cereal was terrible for our teeth. My parents were into whole grains and healthy eating back in the 50's. We did not have any kind of cookies or sweets in the house except ice cream. When we ate ice cream it was topped with toasted wheat germ. My paents were ahead of their time in beaing very health conscious.

  65. My mother is an excellent seamstress and is still at it now at 80. Where she used to make all my clothes, now she is making my daughter nursing dresses. I was always the best-dressed girl at school -- not because we had money (we did not), but because my mother knew fashion and thrift!

    When my aunt was about three years old, a foster sister crocheted her a darling dress. A gorgeous pink dress, lined, and with contrasting ribbon. My three aunts wore it, I and my sister wore it, my cousins have worn it, and my daughters have worn it! When my aunt had twin girls, she crocheted a duplicate dress. So, my daughters (only fourteen months apart in age) have pictures of the two of them in identical crocheted dresses. And my only two granddaughters have now had their pictures taken together in it! The dress is almost 65 years old! A treasure indeed.

  66. What a sweet idea, and such a great giveaway. It was such fun for the four of us kids, to spend time at our great-grandparents house. They would let us all sleep in one bed on the screened in back porch. I loved to help my great-grandma roll out dumplings, her chicken and dumpings were the greatest. They were extremly frugal, never to throw away anything, they were sure to need it for something. All of our clothes were homemade and matching, even the boys suits for Sunday with the little snap on bow tie, just perfect. We were truly blessed.

    Burlington, Kentucky

  67. What a wonderful giveaway. My memory is of my Grandmothers root cellar. When we would go to visit her she would always let me go down into her root cellar and pick out my favorite bottle of fruit. I always picked bottled raspberries. Thanks for letting me join in.

  68. Jenny, what a gorgeous giveaway.

    On the subject of food, my Grandma who died in 1993, was the only one who could get me to eat when I had an ulcerated mouth as a 3 year old. As a last resort before being admitted to hospital for dehydration, Grandma let loose with "googy eggs", and breadcrumb pudding. These tiny tender morsels kept me out of hospital and I do remember eating them, because I only ever wanted to please my darling grandma.

    And homemade clothes? The only clothes we wore (5 brothers and sisters) that weren't homemade, were hand-me-downs from our cousins. My most favourite thing Mum ever made for me, was a knitted jumper. I was 14; a tomboy of the first degree, and terribly hard to get along with. I was allowed to choose the yarn, and chose a dismal +grey flecked wool which Mum absolutely hated. She didn't flinch, but made me the most beautiful jumper that I loved and wore until it breathed it's last sigh about 10 years ago.

    Jenny, this morning I was knitting a sleeve on a little jumper I'm making as a baby eldest son Thomas was pleading with me to knit him one. What a pleasure that will be!

    Lisa x

  69. Hello Little Jenny Wren!

    I enjoy your blog very much, and what a nice giveaway!

    I have many wonderful memories of my mom and grandmothers and their fabulous cooking! But my favorite would be one from my Iowa farmwife Grandma. Staying on the farm was always a special treat, and one of the best things was breakfast in the mornings! She would make us pancakes in shapes - any shape you wanted. People, cows, pigs, trees, bananas......anything. Sometimes they may not have turned out quite like you imagined, but they were always cute and always delicious!

    This same grandma would make us stuffed animals for toys. They were so cute. I still have all of them - elephants, alligators, dogs, cats, bears, snakes.

    She was a special lady, and I think of her every day. I hope someday I can create memories half as wonderful with my grandchildren.

  70. Well, I don't knit (at least not yet) but I didn't want to pass up the opportunity to share my homemade clothing story.
    My mother is a wonderful mom-but she's definitely not a seamstress. In fact, she hated sewing so much that she couldn't ever remember how to thread the machine we had because she used it so infrequently. Needless to say, my clothes were always from department stores.
    However, my older sister-who is 12 years older than me-took Home Ec in high school. I was probably about 5 years old at the time. Anyway, she decided to make a pair of bell-bottomed pants for me. The material was a thick polyester that had a gray background and little clowns printed on it. I'm not sure why I remember them so clearly-maybe because it was the only homemade clothing item I owned until I was old enough to sew for myself. But I do remember them with fondness. much fondness as you can muster for gray polyester clown pants. :-)
    I think maybe I remember feeling so loved because my sister took the time to sew something for me with her own hands-a special memory to be sure.

  71. Hi Jenny,
    Such a lovely and useful giveaway.
    I've made one or two visits just to read the comments and I haven't finished yet!! So it's about time I commented.
    Some of my childhood memories of food: making pikelets with my Nanna, the whole family sitting around the kitchen table doing all the preparation for preserving fruit, or making the lunches for the week, (we froze all our sandwiches) having tripe or brain fritters for tea (we didn't enjoy them)going down to the garden and sneaking fresh peas from the pea patch. Bacon dripping on hot toast (something I still enjoy today) Just reading the comments has reminded me of other things as well, but I think I've said plenty already.
    take care

  72. Wow... my fabourite memories of homemade cooking ... my Mum and Nana were both amazing cooks - but Naa always seemed to have the constant flow of her own tomato relish, pickled onions and coconut topped jam tarts. I really miss those things last week I got my Mum to send down her tomato relish recipe and made a batch of 12 jars. It is not quite as good as hers - but every cheese sandwich I have with the relish makes my thoughts fly back to my lovely Nan ... food is so so connected to love. Nice meeting you at the market, Gemma!

  73. After reading all those wonderful memories, I don't know if I can do it justice.
    What I did think of first while I was reading your post was sitting at my grandma's kitchen table eating homemade bread toasted and home canned applesauce, it always had a wonderful pink tint form the skins. It was yummy and the best bed time snack ever.

  74. I remember that my mum invented the tradition of the Friday-cake. My father always came home from work early on Fridays, and he loved (and still loves) cakes. My mother has always been a great baker, so she baked a cake for my father and us children. When we came hom from school on Fridays the house was always filled with the smell of a wonderful cake and the anticipation of a family afternoon.
    I remember family parties with my mother's family (she has 11 siblings), where everyone starting working, cooking and baking two days before.
    I was a single child many years before my sister was born, still I was never lonely because I had a lot of cousins.

    Thank you!


  75. Dear Jenny-Wren,
    I would love to be entered in this contest.

    My favorite memories of my childhood center around my Mom. She sewed all of my clothes until I was about 8 and in second grade. I stiil have them and my daughters have worn them when they were younger. The love she put into those outfits spread not only to me, but also to my daughters.

    My favorite food memory has to be the homemade bread my parents baked for us. My folks owned a bakery they operated from our home. Every morning they got up early and made the bread, rolls, pastries, etc. for the shops and restaurants that bought them. They also gave us as much delicious whole wheat bread we wanted. Mmm!

    Thank you for holding this contest. I love your blog and read it daily.


    Karen in OH

  76. One childhood memory I wish to share is of a favorite and rare childhood treat. My mom did not often bake, especially with yeast, but at least once a year she would make traditional Swiss doughboys. The bread rises and comes out golden and warm, with raisins stuck in for the eyes, mouth, and buttons, and a sprinkle of sugar on the top.

    We would settle in together with warm mugs of hot chocolate and systematically dip-and-eat the doughboy limb by limb. These doughboys are so large that we often had to eat them in two sittings or risk a tummyache.

    My mom is very skilled with knitting needles and embroidery; one of my favorites is a brilliant turquoise knit dress that I wore as a year old, and my daughter now wears it. I love the connection between generations that knitting can bring, and I hope someday my own needles will knit something other than a scarf!

  77. My Mom passed 8 years ago-My dad this past June-One of the items I was given was my moms red recipe file box. Of course many of the recipes I had hoped to find well,they were never written down-But the obe I really was looking for I knew it was in there,Birthday Cake. Every year from when I was a year old till I was 18 my mom would make me my Birthday cake from scratch. A huge round vanilla cake with Vanilla Buttercream frosting I can still taste it-She decorated it so simply yet it was so Beautiful!!! I remember one birthday her bringing out the cake ,little me surrounded by all my friends and blowing out the candles and her cutting the cake BUT she couldn't get the knife threw!!!Something had happened in the baking the cake was like stone!!!I cried everyone else laughed!!What a memory!!!Thank you for giving me a chance to remember---Susan

  78. Hi Jenny,
    Again the memories return, the knitting patterns familiar to me, that hair cut, yes, my mother the culprit. Our clothes were all home made, our food all home cooked, vegies home grown, all delicious, wholesome and filling but one food memory stands out. My first experience of eating spaghetti.
    I was a child during the late 1940's and easrly 1950's. As post war migrants arrived in our small city, what they ate became a regular topic of conversation between the locals. What were these strange foods we were hearing about? My sister and I pestered our mother to cook us some spaghetti.
    Rice was rarely eaten in our home but when it was,was boiled and served as dessert or pudding as we
    called it. Covered with milk and sprinkled with sugar it was never a favourite of mine!
    It seems my mother equated uncooked spaghetti with rice. Yes my mother boiled the spaghetti, drained it and served it to my sister and I in bowls with milk and sugar sprinkled on top and no, she did not eat any of this "foreign food" herself.I'm afraid we weren't very impressed with Italian food as we attempted to eat it with a spoon.
    It was many years before we ate spaghetti in our home again and that recipe was based on mince and had a substancial amount of vegemite added which must have made it more palatable to us. Australian spaghetti!
    I am happy to say pasta is now one of my favourite foods.
    It just shows where we were at that time in this country and how far we have come. Isn't that a wonderful thing.
    Thanks for the opportunity to tell this story.
    Regards Trish

  79. My Mom was not really the crafty sort. She did take up knitting when we lived in England for three years. She made me a wonderful set of yellow mittens. The first she made was very tight fitting as she was a novice knitter and knitted very firmly. By the second mitton she was more relaxed and into it and it was twice the size! Yet I loved those mittens because she made them.

    It would be so cold in the morning in our little English cottage and she would hang our undies and clothes on the radiators so they would be warm to put on. How cozy we felt.

  80. hi, what a great giveaway!
    This post made me think of meeting my grandfather at the refrigerator late night after everyone else was asleep to eat white bread spread with butter and Karo syrup. I was around age 6-8 and would spend summers at my grandparents house with my other cousins. I think this was a treat he held close after the Great Depression but, it always felt so decadent to me! We'd eat by the light of the refrigerator and giggle about how my grandmother would disapprove. Boy, i miss him.
    Thanks again for such a thought provoking blog!

  81. I love reading you blog everyday, it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy, because it reminds me of my childhood. In one of the posts itr mentions Angora, I haven't thought about that for years, but I had a pale blue Angora jumper my little Nan knitted, and I loved it. It was so soft and beautiful. You could only buy Angora in small balls in a special box, and only in colours pale blue, lemon and pink.

    Thanks to you, and all the folk that posted for giving me yet another trip down Memory Lane.

    My little Nan's favourite saying was "a room without a rug is like a kiss without a hug"


Thanks so much for taking the time to chat. I don't always have time to reply but I do read every message you leave.