Following the death of its author last month, now seems the perfect time to introduce you to and celebrate possibly our favourite jam making handbook.
The basic basics jam making handbook by Marguerite Patten
Published in 2001, this jam making handbook also includes instructions for marmalades, curds, jellies, pickles, chutneys, relishes and ketchups. It isn’t heavily illustrated, preferring instead to rely on clearly described instructions and covering plenty of jam making theory as well as practice.
The book cover, equipment, basic techniques, storage and how to rescue the situation when problems arise. The range of recipes included ranges from store cupboard staples and family favourites to more exotic fare including hot pepper jelly and quince cheese.
There are also helpful variations on the basic recipes which can help beginners to develop the confidence to experiment and give new ideas to experienced cooks.
You will enjoy enormously testing out your skills on rose petal jam, ginger marmalade and picalilli, among more than 200 recipes in the book.
About the jam making handbook author
Marguerite Patten was born in 1915 and became one of the first of the ‘celebrity chefs’ – a title she abhorred, preferring to describe herself as a ‘home economist’. She began cooking for her family aged 12 and honed her career at the Ministry of Food, developing creative and healthy recipes out of household rations during WWII. After the war she began presenting cookery programmes for the BBC, focusing on the creative use of rationed food.
Her ‘Cookery in Colour’ book from 1961 changed the way cook books were written, with glossy pictures, practical and theoretical advice and easy to follow instructions. Over the years and 170 books, Marguerite Patten racked up sales of 17 million copies. Her career included 12 appearances at the London Palladium, a world tour and cookery demonstrations which helped to popularise pressure cooker in the UK.
In 1991 she received the ‘Officer of the Order of the British Empire’ (OBE) for ‘services to the Art of Cookery’, and then the ‘Commander of the Order of the British Empire’ (CBE) in 2010.
On Thursday 4 June 2015 she died, aged 99 years and seven months exactly after suffering stoically through illness. She had been working until her late nineties, when she was robbed of speech by a stroke. In her later years standing became difficult and finally Marguerite Patten had to give up cooking after an illustrious career during which she can be said to have greatly improved British cookery.