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My grandma would occasionally come out with the phrase “fine words butter no parsnips” (an admonishment similar to “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”) which was generally met with looks of confusion rather than the obedient flurry of action I expect she hoped for.

I have no idea why you’d want to butter a parsnip, but sadly this lovely old phrase has been falling by the wayside in recent years. I’ve been gradually accumulating old cookbooks, encyclopaedias and social manuals and it’s surprising how much else has fallen by the wayside in the last 90 years or so as well. I’ll be using this blog to try out old recipes (brains on toast, anyone?), unearth bizarre remedies (modern medicine has come a long way) and look at the finer points of etiquette in case, say, you’re not sure how to hold a tennis party without a maid, or you have an unexpected guest who then falls ill and has to stay at your house for a month or two.

 

You know, the useful stuff.

 

 

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