By Heleen A.M. Halverhout
My mother-in-law rather liked to cook. She liked buying cookery books even more. So when she died a few years ago, we inherited her collection of cookery books. It is entirely possible that she had bought this slim volume when it was new — her collection has books from 1950 to about 1990.
- Author: Heleen A.M. Halverhout
- Title: Snufjes uit de Franse Keuken
- Pages: 116
- Published: 1953
- Publisher: Uitgeversmaatschappij C.A.J van Dishoeck
Quite a few of those books have photographs so faded that they wouldn’t look out of place in Lilek’s Gallery of
Regrettable Food. (Note though that Lileks apparently doesn’t know that photographs fade over time, and that he prefers modern high-tech food photographery to piccies of edible food.) This book, fortunately, has charming illustrations in pen and ink by Rein de Looy.
The author of Snufjes uit de Franse Keuken has published a few more cookery books, and was apparently enough of an authority that she has also published in English Dutch Cooking and Dutch and Belgian Cooking — still available, both new and second-hand.
That being said, in the fifties, the Netherlands appeared to have been a culinary wasteland, despite the best efforts of Werumeus Buning, and people were still afraid of the soupçon of garlic and the dash of vin rouge. Not only that, but even the most basic of kitchen work needed to be explained.
Still, some of the recipes are very useful. Now we have our own vegetable plot, once or twice a year we have really fresh peas. Halverhout gives a very attractive recipe for a soup made from pea shells.
And while her attitude is one of superiority, it is never condescending superiority. That alone is rare in Dutch cookery books from this time.