upperfourth2

Being a true Old Fashioned Girl, when I was growing up I wasn’t one for modern tales of broken homes and urban estates; I’d had enough of that in my own life. Instead, I lived on a diet of moralistic Victorian tales and mid century adventure stories, where children roamed across moors and slept in attics, and overcame life’s disappointments by doing good deeds, getting plenty of fresh air and eating enormous amounts of wholesome food. I spent my winter weekends sprawled on my stomach in my bedroom, my mind full of the heady scent of roses from within the walls of The Secret Garden and my stomach growling at the description of hunks of bread and dripping and bowls full of creamy porridge. In the summer, my mum would pack me picnics of ginger beer, plums and chocolate digestives to take on my bike to the local park, where I’d pretend I was one of the Famous Five. I am currently reading Goodnight Mister Tom to one of my classes at school, and I have been salivating at the bacon and dripping sandwiches and sticky slabs of ginger cake that Mister Tom cooks up for little Willie. I don’t see much description of food in today’s children’s literature; perhaps it has become too plentiful to be a luxury. It’s a shame, because food is what helps to fuel the imagination in many of these old fashioned tales. Jane Brocket’s marvellous cook book, Cherry Cake and Ginger Beer, is a brilliant compendium of recipes from children’s literature, complete with essays and illustrations to set the context. It’s a must for us Old Fashioned Girls who appreciate the finest things in life. – Rachel