Grandma Sarah's legacy
WHEN grandparents die they often leave behind items of sentimental value for their loved ones.
But when Sarah Matthews died in 1970, she left a legacy of her own recipes, some of which are more than 100 years old, to her grand-daughter-in-law Patricia.
Now, Mrs Matthews, aged 67, is writing a book of Grandma Sarah’s recipes, along with the social history of her life growing up in Bolton.
The original cookbook, now delicately used by Mrs Matthews due to its age, is filled with elegant, Victorian handwriting showing Grandma Sarah’s life of baking.
It also gives an insight into her personality and what it was like to live through the last century.
Mrs Matthews, from Longfield Road, Hulton, said: “It started off as just a cook book and it’s turned into something much bigger with a bit of Bolton history and my family history.
“I’ve had to alter the quantities of the ingredients because back in those days they would have made large batches for the family.
“There were no preser-vatives in those days, and they didn’t have fridges. They only had a meat safe and a pantry.
“I have to use my own knowledge about baking to help translate some of the recipes, and because I was so close to her that helps.
“Despite me not being her blood granddaughter she always said to me that I would be the next Grandma Matthews. She gave me her wedding ring — we had a very close bond.”
“Grandma Sarah was born in 1893 — but when her mother died suddenly when she was aged just eight, she had to take on the role of mother and stay at home, while her five brothers were at school and their father was at work.
“Mrs Matthews said: “She was the only girl and was born in Salford but moved to Bolton after her mum died.
“She later married grandpa Norman at Kings Hall in Bradshawgate.
“When my husband Ronnie and I started courting we would go round to her house and it would always smell of baking.
“She was a God-fearing, straight-laced person who wouldn’t stand for any messing — but she had a wicked sense of humour.
“We will never see the like of this kind of woman ever again. They were very resilient people in those days.”
Mrs Matthews said: “It’s her terminology that is fantastic. For her Simnel cake she would put 11 balls on the top for the disciples – minus Judas. Then she’d put a big one in the middle for Jesus. She has written with the recipe: ‘Don’t forget the one in the middle.’ “There was a lot of lard used in those days because there weren’t any low fat alternatives. Their diets were all about pastry and pies — meat pies for a main meal, apple pies for desserts.”
The book, which is yet to be named, is due out later this year. Contact email@example.com for more information.
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