Friday, October 16, 2009
In her younger days, my cousin was a very elegant woman indeed. She tells me now, aged 87, that she always had an inferiority complex about the way she looked – which is odd, because she always looked extremely elegant. But complexes aren’t based on fact, usually – anyway, I digress.
She is about to move into a frail care unit and so she is turfing out a whole range of stuff she once used but now no longer needs. To me came two cookbooks “The Royal Hostess – South Africa’s own cookbook”, the first version (dated 1953), calls itself. The second, the 10th edition revised – is dated 1978.
It was recipes for Whalemeat, which caught my eye. The book does a little preamble to the recipes which reads as follows:
“During the War years, whalemeat (sic – no capital even!) was introduced in England to supplement the very meagre amount of animal protein supplied by the few ounces of weekly meat ration. With proper handling and cooking, British housewives found they could produce nourishing and tasty meals from Whalemeat. South Africa too has had to fall back on whalemeat during the severe meat shortages we experience each winter...”
The preamble continues:
"The following suggestions and recipes may tempt housewives to try whalemeat for themselves, and, if they follow the instructions carefully”, the writer assures us, they will be “agreeably surprised at the appetizing results”.
Just in case you may have wondered about it, the taste of Whalemeat is described as “a blend of steak and liver” which is hard to distinguish from “ordinary meat” if correctly prepared.
So that is what the fuss is about in Japan! That is why they need as much Whale hunting as they do “for scientific purposes” of course. For the “blend of steak and liver” taste.
If any Japanese readers (or indeed other Whale eaters) are looking for the “proper methods of handling, and suitable recipes for the preparation of this cheap yet valuable protein food”, just let me know. I will be happy to share with them Whale meat recipe tips from the Royal Hostess.