Cook Books – Old or New??

I don’t know about anyone else but I find myself time and time again delving into the old cookery books I have to find new and different dishes to serve up to my family.  Cakes and biscuits are a favorite and I love recipes that use ingredients that I not only recognise but that I also don’t need a special trip down the street to search all three supermarkets we have to find the one ingredient that is proclaimed to make this recipe the “best ever”.  I like recipes that are cheap and easy and above all else taste fantastic. 

I do have more modern cook books but I find that I rarely use them.  More often than not I find myself in the CWA Esk Valley Cookery Book which is older than I am or hunting through Popular Recipes from the Dorrigo Plateau which was printed the same year I was born.  Recipe books that are filled with tried and true dishes that housewives  have put together in order to feed their families nutritious meals without breaking the budget.  The one modern book that I use all the time is Cookery the Australian Way which was used extensively in the cookery rooms at the secondary school I attended.  Not so surprisingly is that both Elise and Nicola constantly delve into this book to as it covers everything from budgeting to setting a table correctly, what cuts of meat are what, international dishes – well chow mein was pretty international when I was a girl 😉 – invalid dishes and all the cakes, biscuits and puddings you could ever want.  I bought my copy (which is falling apart) when I finished High School and it has been in constant use ever since.

Now I’m not saying that there aren’t some pretty fantastic recipes out there and there are some pretty amazing people creating these recipes – I just prefer the “old” recipes I have.  We had a discussion about cookbooks and recipes recently at Spinners and Weavers.  You have to keep in mind all of these ladies are older than me and all have raised families during some pretty tough times -the depression,  the war, and the more recent ups and downs of the financial markets.  They all agreed that their old cook books are the ones they use the most.  Certainly they liked looking at modern recipes and are all pretty impressed at what is being created today but to a woman they all agreed that simple food cooked well with basic ingredients did more to excite them than a modern dish with fancy ingredients and a price tag to match.

I’m determined to try out some new/old recipes as time permits over the next little while and will post them here in the hope that others may also find them of use – abit like the orange cake recipe I posted the other day. What wonderful emails I have received regarding it. Thank you and please if you make any of these recipes let me know. It will be interesting to hear how others find them.

Today’s offering is a nut loaf recipe I am calling “Arleen’s Nut Bread”.

Arleen's Nut Bread

 Arleen  thinks that this recipe may have originally come from Mrs Floate’s cookbook  but as she can’t find the original book but has this one written in her own recipe book I shall rename it after her.  It’s super easy and tastes fantastic. Ooh and before I forget – Mrs Dorothy Floate was a self taught prizing winning cook who participated in a great many local Australian agricultural shows and won many, many first prizes.  Her books are no longer in print but if you have one or find one grab it and hold onto it.  I haven’t seen any of her books but the girls at Spinners and Weavers say that they were the ants pants of cookery books.

Arleen’s Nut Bread

3 cups Self Raising Flour

3/4 cup sugar

1 cup walnuts choppped

1/2 tablespoon butter

Pinch salt

1 cup milk

1 egg.


Rub Butter into flour.

Add sugar, salt and walnuts. 

 Beat egg, add to milk and stir into flour/walnut mix.  Mix well.

Bake in greased nut loaf tins with lids on for about 3/4 hour in a good (moderate) oven.


I don’t have any nut loaf tins so I baked mine in a bread tin which can hold a regular sized loaf of bread like you buy at the supermarket.  The nut bread 3/4 filled the tin when baked.  I have restricted myself to just one slice so far and it was fabulous.  Quite plain as there are no spices in it but the walnuts are amazing.  The cake was split into thirds – one third in the freezer for another day, one third up to Mums so she can enjoy it and one third for morning and afternoon teas for me – for as long as it lasts….vbg.


4 thoughts on “Cook Books – Old or New??

  1. My ‘Cookery the Australian Way’ gets used on a regugar basis, esp for cakes and biscuits. This is mostly b/c when it comes to savoury dishes I tend to use recipes only as a jumping off point.

    There must be something in the air b/c I have spent the day ripping the recipes I like from a mahoosive stack of old Good Food mags. The thing they al seem to have in common is the unfussiness of them.

  2. Looking yummy Catherine. My old standby is called “The Joy of Cooking”. Mine was falling apart as well and then I spied another copy in the thrift shop that was in good condition so bought it.

  3. i actually have three copies of the dorothy floate’s secret of sucess cookbook – one for me and my two daughters, but have realised i really only need 2 because they will only need one each when i’m dead and gone (sorry, i don’t mean to be morbid).

    that aside, it is an excellent read and dot takes her cooking very seriously, explaining everything sooo very carefully.

    i think your recipe may have originally been dot’s (prize) nut loaf – dot wasn’t shy in letting her readers know which of her recipes won prizes, and good on her. and good on her for sharing her tips on achieving the finest results from each recipe.

    anyway, if you can’t tell already, i’m all for old cookbooks and wish they get the recognition they deserve. dot’s still alive today because of her cookbook.

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