By Freda Rumford from the May 2010 Edition
I must own 100 cook books in one form or another in each of which there are one or two well worn pages, as well as lists of family favourites on my computer. I also look continuously on the net for other specific recipes as I can never find the one I am looking for. So I suppose I could be termed a cook book junkie. I like to read them!
It has bothered me since arriving in Mexico, that most of the modern books take short cuts using prepared ingredients not available here, such as “take a pound of phyllo pastry” or “frozen pizza” or “bread dough”, I need to make it from scratch! So when I decided that I could not live one more day without purchasing the 2 volumes of “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” by Julia Childs, even I somewhat doubted my sanity. I mean, I had hundreds of thousands of recipes, why did I need more? But – I lusted after the books for several months before deciding enough was enough, I had to have them – today.
Eventually they arrived, actually a little cheaper than when I had first checked them out and opened them eagerly. Often I find cook books a disappointment but in this case it was “aye caramba”. I am so impressed that I may never use another book except my old and trusty Good Housekeeping book bought for me 54 years ago for my old British basics, or the “Sunset” book I have for cheese cakes, or the “Company’s Coming” for Nanaimo Bars or the “Best of Bridge” series for ……. Oh dear! I did say I was a junkie.
Never really a fan of Julia Childs on TV, because her voice drove me nuts and she always seemed terribly confused, I was astonished at how clear and concise the ingredients and instructions are. On the left hand side of the page are the ingredients in order of use, on the right the method of how each is to be used. Also there are suggestions for replacements should a particular ingredient not be available or disliked or even for turning it into a completely different dish. Now we are talking. Also, it is most unlikely that I will be another Julie and cook all of the recipes. But I wholeheartedly recommend this book. The methods used are explained well and it is very easy to see why the first book took seven years to prepare, it will probably take me seven years just to go through the books thoroughly. I am positive though, that they will be used often and that the results will be outstanding. I have always liked colored pictures, there are none here, but there are carefully drawn etchings which show every piece of equipment and its use for which particular task. I may have some more shopping to do!
This is a book that I would really like to discuss in a bookies night out! I find it intriguing.
Most knew her as Freda Rumford. Freda Anne Vickery was a founder, editor, and contributor of the Manzanillo Sun magazine. She was one of the founders and, took over being President of the Manzamigos, when her husband Nigel, died. When she first came to Manzanillo, she got a job writing for the Guadalajara Reporter and used that as a foundation for her later humanities work. Freda was born in the East side of London in 1934 but grew up in Norwich. Freda’s early life was one of overcoming things. As an example, she was born with a lisp but one of her first jobs was being a telephone operator after some extensive elocution lessons. She met and married a young military man and, like so many others, they and their children moved to Canada for his employment opportunities and she ended up working for the Hudson's Bay Company in cosmetic sales in Calgary. They moved to BC and then to Manzanillo, for her health, which flourished in the tropical weather. After Nigel died, she later married Kirby Vickery. She later became ill and finally lost the battle with cancer on the 27th of February 2016.