I was born in 1946 as an end of the war baby into a family in Barnsley, West Riding of Yorkshire. I had a brother almost 3 years older than me and a mother and father. In those days Barnsley was a mining town but my father had escaped that fate and become a white collar worker in the Town Hall. He was a fearsome character, distant from the family and almost all of my childhood unhappiness came from him.
By contrast my mother was a wonderful woman who both my brother and I loved. She was kind and generous and a mother who would listen to our childhood and teenage problems. She spent hours sewing our clothes and her own and despite post war shortages, always managed to put three square meals on the table.
Like most people at the time we grew a lot of our own food. Dig for Victory, that wartime effort to stop Britain starving, was still the practice. I can vaguely remember us keeping chickens which became our pets only to have to kill them. The greenhouse, which had been an essential part of war time gardens, was just a ruin and remained so for many years until finally demolished. The allotment had to be visited most Sundays and it was where we collected most of our fresh vegetables and apples. The result was that we ate well on basic food and not a scrap of food or leftovers was ever wasted.
In my Mother's family, going back a few generations, was a Cook to an important family in Leeds and a Barnsley Butcher whose claim to fame was the Barnsley Chop. I hope to include a recipe for that later. The Butcher's slaughter house later became Albert Hurst's Pie Factory. He went on TV in the early days of Yorkshire Television to announce that he had discovered the Barnsley Chop only to be put down by my mother when next she visited his shop. "It was my great, great something or other that founded the Barnsley Chop", I can hear her saying to this day. Poor Albert had to accept that he was wrong. If you can get hold of an Albert Hurst Pork Pie, they are still the best in the world, having pink meat not dull grey and a jelly to tickle the taste buds.
As a tribute to my mother I am building here a collection of her favorite recipes and mine. Those which have been passed down to me by my mother are marked in the various pages. More recently I have been adding some of my own favourites.
I hope you enjoy them.