Sunday, 6 November 2011

Cheese and Mustard (1940’s)

Every now and then, in the pantry the last lump of cheese would be going dry and crumbly, but it was still all used, very very rare for good food to be wasted back then.

I'm not talking about the fiddly bits of cheese you see in the shops and super markets these days all fancy wrapped and stamped with a sell by date.  This was a real wedge off a whole round block of Cheshire and Cheddar Cheese, probably fifteen or twenty times the size mentioned above.

When mother got down to the last lump of dry cheese, there was a number of ways of using it up.
It got put on toast and grilled, or for a change (preferably Cheddar) put in the bottom of a sauce pan along with some milk heated and melted into sticky almost runny glue with liberal shakes from the pepper pot then that poured or ladled onto toast. I must say that at this stage if it was left to go cold it would resemble a piece of leather; you really could nail it on the soul of ya boot.

Another cheese dish father liked and he did it right on his plate, at tea time, again it would be the same crumbly Cheshire type Cheese. He would break and crumble the cheese over his plate, spread a half a tea spoonful of powdered mustard over it, then with the back of his fork, mash it all together with enough vinegar to make it all into a paste which would be spread onto hot muffins or toast.

He loved it but as kids it was a bit too hot for us, (it would blow our heads off)  I have tried it occasionally over the years since, not many households keep Colman’s Mustard Powder on the pantry shelves these days.


On the subject of mustard, a number of tins of dried mustard powder were always kept in stock for emergencies, (we have a tin in our pantry right now). On a number of occasions the vet has applied a mustard plaster on a cow back when she has had a difficult calving,  or slipped and hurt her back, it’s a tin of mustard mixed into a paste with a bit of warm water and spread onto a large square of brown paper then applied to the cows loin area or where ever a bit of heat was wanted.

  This was also often used on the man of the house if he had a bad or aching back, it is surprising how much heat it generates when its on your skin and protected with the old shiny brown paper glued on with the mustard. (I speak from experience)  



Cheese – milk’s leap toward immortality.

Clifton Fadiman  (1904 – 1999)

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