What is this book?
The Belgian Cook Book (1915) consists of recipes ‘sent in by Belgian refugees from all parts of the United Kingdom’. The German invasion of Belgium in 1914 prompted a mass exodus of civilians, and around 250,000 Belgians took refuge in Britain. The recipes are standard Belgian dishes, and many contributors such as Gabrielle Janssens and Mme (Mrs) Herman Noppen contributed several recipes.
Who is it for?
The book’s editor, Mrs Brian Luck, states in her preface that the book is for the ‘workaday and inexperienced mistress and maid’. The recipes make much use of rich ingredients such as butter and cream, and, given the vague instructions, assume knowledge of cooking techniques, and presumably, a willingness to experiment with Belgian dishes. It is taken for granted that the cook will be a woman, ‘mistress and maid’, and the book is presumably aimed at a middle class audience. Food is compared to the female body, and cooking food is the way to catch your man and keep him!