Lyons’ chefs ‘tried and tested’ every recipe

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by Jeannie Swales

If you thought that glossy cookery magazines were a modern phenomenon, then think again.

These beautiful magazines date from the early 1920s. Under the generic title of Best Way, you can choose from Puddings and Pies, Chocolate Cookery, or Cakes & Pastries - just 6d each, and all with ‘A Photograph of every Recipe - and every one tried and tested by the chefs of Messrs J. Lyons & Co Ltd’.

Lyons, of course, were best known for their tea shops, with uniformed waitresses known as ‘nippies’, which ran from 1894 to 1981; and for their Corner Houses (1909 to 1977) in London’s West End - anyone who enjoys the literature of the period will know that inter-war heroines had many adventures in Corner Houses.

It being Shrove Tuesday next week, we reproduce below a gloriously wordy pancake recipe from Puddings and Pies. That final line makes the recipe sound particularly tempting...

½ lb flour; ¼ lb lard; 2 eggs; 1 lemon; 1 pint milk; castor sugar

Put the flour into a basin and make a hole in the centre of it. Break the eggs into a cup and put into the hole in the flour; it is not necessary to beat them first, as they will be well beaten in the batter. With a wooden spoon, stir a small quantity of the flour with the eggs until they are about the consistency of a thick custard. This consistency is to be maintained until all the flour is mixed, therefore, as a little more flour is put to the eggs so a little milk must be added, until all flour from the side of the basin is mixed with the eggs, etc.

When all the flour has been added, and only half the milk, the batter must be beaten. Beat well for about ten minutes - this introduces air. Mix in the remainder of the milk and stand the batter aside for about an hour.

Melt the lard in a saucepan. Take a small frying-pan and put a tablespoonful of the melted lard into the pan – just sufficient to cover the bottom of the pan.

Measure a half gill of batter, and when the fat is hot in the frying-pan pour in this batter and allow it to run all over the pan. When light brown turn it over with a knife, or toss it on to the other side. When both sides are light brown turn the pancake onto a sugared paper, squeeze a little lemon-juice on it and castor sugar, then roll the pancake and shake a small quantity of sugar on the top. Proceed until all the batter is utilised. Serve the pancakes at once on a dish with a lace paper: the latter soaks in the grease.

These cookery magazines are part of the Scarborough Collections - for further information, please contact collections manager Jennifer Dunne on or (01723) 384510.