In the edition of ‘Mrs Beeton’s Everyday Cookery’ that as far as I can see has no date, but smells old enough, there is a preface. And a daunting one for someone who (almost) shares the name, who (often) fails to share the skills and (regularly) is the subject of ‘helpful’ people asking me about managing my ‘household’.
It begins by putting Mrs B on a pedestal so high that even her little Victorian (for which I sincerely hope she was) legs wouldn’t dream of touching the ground. The legendary, near god-like woman “has been the guide, philosopher, and friend of countless happy homes for more than a century”. Let me be clear from the outset, that I cannot lay claim to any of the above. Yes, I was briefly a Guide, took AS Philosophy for a term before dropping it, have been the burden of countless and up until my ring on the doorbell happy homes, and not yet made a century in anything other than Skittle eating. And it is with this ringing in my ears, and with the faint waft of singed Christmas cake coming from the kitchen that I begin.
This will never claim to be useful, theraputic or interesting, but practical and pragmatic I will aim for. Here’s one for free -clean the bathroom when Mother is imminent with baby wipes. Genius on taps. So I’ll try to cobble together the things that us women currently do bloody well, particularly the bits behind the scenes that nobody see but saves enough time for half a glass of Merlot before the shit hits the fan, dinner guests arrive and your child takes this fine opportunity to begin potty training at 9pm.