Welcome to the Mrs Beeton Project Announcement. After all the secret keeping we are finally ready to announce exactly what we are getting up to on RecipeThis.com in 2018.
While all of you are getting excited because it is New Year’s Eve and you have a party to get to, we are getting excited because tomorrow marks a new beginning and a new year on our food blog.
We have been blogging on Recipe This based on a lot of our favourite recipes that we have made and at Easter last year we decided that the one thing that we wanted to do was to share our love with Mrs Beeton with you. So after 9 months of planning it is finally here.
We plan to dedicate the content of 2018 to Mrs Beeton and recipes that are inspired by the original cookbook.
Impressively if you are a fan of the British TV show Downton Abbey or Julia Childs you will be pleased to find out that this is the cookbook that inspired their food.
Mrs Beeton – Why Her Cookbook?
Well the Mrs Beeton Cookbook is absolutely HUGE. In fact I am talking more than 2000 recipes in the cookbook. The version I am working from is a 1969 version. When I looked through every page of the recipes I found more than 700 recipes that I wanted to do so I am going to have to tone it down a lot. But that is still a huge scope.
Mrs Beeton cookery books were originally created in the 1800’s and it is a case that the majority of the recipes that we all know, and love originated from the Mrs Beeton. If you think of what your grandma made for you, then the chances are this is where it came from.
So, it makes perfect sense to take the cookbook that everyone is obsessed with and modernise the recipes for today’s busy mums. To take the classics and make them perfect for today’s society.
I learnt to cook from the great recipes of Mrs Beeton after first reading this same book when I was just 18 and had just moved in with my boyfriend (who is now my husband of nearly 15 years). Prior to that I could cook macaroni cheese, bake some cookies and make some scones.
I loved the simplicity of it. I laughed so loud the neighbours heard me when I read about the household section and it gave advise on servants and other Victorian traditions and I cried at the thought of eating rabbit as featured in many of the recipes.
But most of all it taught me skills that I never thought I had and a joy for cookery that has not only lasted nearly 18 years but if I hadn’t read this, I doubt I would have become a food blogger.
Mrs Beeton Project Commandments
I decided to keep it fun and interesting throughout my Mrs Beeton campaign and issue a few commandments. I am not going to be spending 6 hours a day cleaning the house like the 1960’s housewife did. The hours I work, and my other commitments make this impossible. But what I am going to be doing is a few slight adjustments that will serve our family well.
#1 I am not going to weigh myself – What I hate about family life is that mum is always on a diet. This leads to her daughters obsessing about it and this obsession with diets just goes on for generation after generation. I plan to weigh myself today but not again for a year. My plans for the year has a family eating healthier and enjoying the food a lot more and it will be interesting what my weight is this time next year. But I promise not to mention it until then!
In the dieting world we need to learn to be average. To not feel like we must live off the plant based diet, that we understand that processed foods shouldn’t be a day to day diet, but most of all live without feeling like we are restricted.
#2 I will average 10,000 steps a day – Now what is important for our bodies is that we have a fair amount of exercise. Back then in Mrs Beeton era they did, in the 1960’s they did too. But now we spend too much time watching TV and not getting enough exercise. I have a watch that tracks me that I love, and I vow to complete 10,000 steps for the year. If I miss a day of the steps, then I will make up for it the next day.
If you want to achieve these steps yourself think that 10,000 steps are just over an hour’s activity per day. Therefore, if you walked your dog for an hour a day, did some housework, cooked dinner, took your kids to the park, then it will soon add up. Or you might find that you do 6000 steps naturally from day to day duties and that the 4000 is your top up from actual exercise.
#3 Eat Together – I must ask why did people stop doing this???? It is just so wrong, isn’t it? Your little ones learn table manners like this, your teenagers are not attached to their phones, so they speak to you and it’s so nice to communicate. I just must inform my teen!!!
#4 Lefovers Are Amazing – We are leftover addicts and love to find new and exciting ways to use our leftovers. Throughout 2018 nothing will be wasted and like the Mrs Beeton style housewife we will make sure that delicious meals are served.
I will make sure that I dedicate a lot of recipes to leftover foods so that you can see where you can save money and time by eating up the yummy leftovers.
#5 Mrs Beeton Cookbook Snippets – We will also show the original recipes for you to compare to, whenever possible for the recipes that we feature. Then you can see what we did compared to the original. I am terrible at sticking to recipes and like to make a recipe my own so that should make it interesting!
#6 Kids In The Kitchen – Now to me this is the best bit of them all. We now have a society of obese kids. They hate vegetables with a passion and just want to eat processed foods. If you get the kids in the kitchen with you learning how to cook, discovering all the vegetables it can make an enormous difference and we can really get rid of this obesity problem that has been created.
I remember watching a TV show about obesity not so long ago and what got me is they said that if they spent as much time on kid’s TV adverts about fresh fruit and vegetables as they did on processed foods, then kids would be more likely to make better food choices.
Sofia (who has just turned 3) loves to peel the garlic for me, gets out the veg, fills our freezer stock bag and is always on hand when cake mix bowl licking is required.
Jorge (who is just over 1) is already watching what his sister does, and I am sure he will follow in her footsteps.
#7 Grocery Budget of $300 – As a family of 5 we plan to stick to $300 for grocery shopping. We will also keep a record of it and share with you exactly what we spend on grocery shopping.
We will also plan a monthly menu and shop around for the best deals. Plus it will be interesting how much we have to cut back by, in order to reach this target.
#8 Processed Foods – Processed foods should be a minimum not a maximum. Many families eat 85% or more in processed foods and it is damaging our health. We plan to eat just healthy processed foods such as whole milk, tinned tomatoes, tinned pulses and such like. You will not see us buying a cheap supermarket pizza.
Let’s swap things around. American kids for example have a 95% processed foods diet and 5% real foods. What if it could be the other way around?
#9 Fruit & Veg Should Be The Star – Fruit and vegetables are amazing. Cook them well and they are amazing. Teach your kids about fruit and vegetables and watch as they develop a true bond with them.
Our 16-year-old son complains if there are not vegetables on his plate. When we take him to the Chinese buffet you can guarantee that his plate will be loaded with broccoli. Compare this to the other kids at the buffet that just eat the deep-fried chicken.
Our 3-year-old daughter is already learning about fruit and vegetables and would live off fruit if we let her. I often look down at my chopping board and she has eaten the raw vegetables that I am adding to lunch.
#10 Junk Food – We live in a society now when junk food is the norm of our daily diet. You visit a shopping centre and there are more places to buy fast food then there are places serving classic dishes. At our shopping centre we see the Portuguese (who are slim and healthy) heading for the pasta and salad bar, while the Brits on holiday form a huge queue outside of McDonalds.
#11 Grow Your Own – Another crucial factor is to grow your own fruit and vegetables. It helps save you money, your kids get into the growing process and in the 1960’s this is exactly what people do.
We started our own You Tube Channel section just for this and you can see the intro video below:
#12 Family Memories – I am adding this because it is so important to so many people that have a Mrs Beeton cookbook. You find recipes in the cookbook and realise that is where your grandmas amazing recipe came from, then you found another and another and all of a sudden, those recipes that you wanted the info about, are all in the book. Now this is the opportunity for you to cook these recipes, then pass them down to your kids, your grandkids and then they can do the same.
These recipes are old school, technology has changed but the recipes are the same. These are recipes that we have all loved for 150 years so I am sure we can do another 150 years with them!
#13 Modernising Mrs Beeton Recipes With Gadgets – There is one HUGE flaw when it comes to the Mrs Beeton cookery books. That is the fact that they were originally written based on Victorian times and that the woman stayed home all day and cooked. She didn’t go out to work and have zillion things to do like us women of today have.
A second flaw in the original Mrs Beeton Recipes is that food was very bland. It was seasoned with salt, pepper, vinegar and tomato ketchup. We now all own extensive spice cupboards and this is perfect for making our favourite classic dishes modern.
Then EVEN BETTER we now have these AMAZING kitchen gadgets that make cooking these delightful classics even easier and that is exactly what we plan to achieve in 2018.
When I look at my version of Mrs Beeton from 1969 and compare this to the earlier versions of the early 1900s you can see that it had been modernised for the 1960’s housewife, but we have come a long, long way since then and I am looking forward to sharing with you my favourite modern recipes.
Mrs Beeton Project Details
How this is going to run is that we are going to blog every other day for the whole of the year. One week we will have posts every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. Then the second week it will be Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and then it will rotate.
Each of the different days will be a theme:
Mondays = The focus will be on meatless Monday with a lot of vegan and some vegetarian meals that focus on us eating these great vegetables and pulses.
Tuesdays = This will focus on my favourite TV show when I first showed an interest in cookery and this is Ready Steady Cook. The show allowed the celebrity chef to cook alongside a TV show fan. The fan would bring in the food and it would have a limit of £5 on food. They would then make at least one course with these ingredients and come up with quirky names for the recipe. It was fun and exciting, and the focus was very much on frugal cookery.
Ready Steady Cook had less than 30 minutes to cook the food in and is just perfect for a theme for families like us that want cheap meals out on the table quickly that are nutritious.
Wednesdays = The focus on this will be surrounding the hashtag #Howtocook it will focus around simple home cooking skills such as learning how to cook with eggs, how to make different pastries, how to cook vegetables and so forth. Perfect for our readers that have limited cooking skills.
Fridays = Fakeaways. This will allow us to focus on delicious recipes where we are taking a restaurant meal, pub meal or takeaway and making it much cheaper and (mostly) healthier at home. Expect homemade pizza, burgers, meatballs, pasta and other classics.
Sundays = Sundays will be focused on eating as a family with a delicious Sunday dinner with all the trimmings with a guaranteed cost of below $5 for the family. As a family of 5 we are looking forward to sharing with you our cooking wisdom.
Thursdays/Saturdays = these will be focused around our other content. Our monthly Podcast, our income report, our monthly grocery report and other similar content. With a new theme for our Podcast for 2018 it is going to be some exciting stuff.
If you want to see classic recipes modernised with the help of kitchen gadgets and for us to keep the budget down too, then you will love what we have in store for you!
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Mrs Beeton Project – In A Nutshell
We want to remind ourselves of a time when processed foods was unusual, people were fit, they didn’t eat huge portions, food was cooked from scratch and food waste didn’t exist.
It was also a time when people couldn’t afford meat everyday as it was too expensive for them and would often only eat meat 2-3 times a week.
Not to mention obesity wasn’t even in people’s thoughts.
I also find it difficult to understand when exactly it became acceptable to live off processed foods, to feed our kids rubbish and to not educate them to cook. Now it’s rare that cookery is taught in schools and nobody is teaching them the simple basics.
You look at other countries like Jamaica, India, Thailand, France, Spain, Italy, Greece and Portugal and their mums and grandmas are teaching them to cook so much that when they leave school they can cook better than most can in their 30’s.
I love the idea of my Mrs Beeton year because I can modernise the classics, reminisce about all those great classic recipes that my Grandparents taught me and best of all enjoy cooking and learning new recipes.
At the end of the day, we all have busy lives so why not create the same quality cooking as what was achieved back then but use kitchen gadgets?
It creates less washing up, is quicker to do and because of all the time you save you could easily cook from scratch 3 times a day for your family. You could no longer use the excuses to turn to processed foods and your family could be healthier too.
I have chosen the best recipes out of the 2000+ that fit in best with modern life, modern gadgets and modern ingredients. So, if you are ready – sit back and let’s get cooking the Mrs Beeton way 🙂