I never saw my father make tea.  In fact, I used to think he didn’t know how.  His notes demonstrate otherwise, however.   Still, I can’t help thinking his description betrays something of the fascination of a novice.  Tellingly, his methodical approach can’t quite make up for his vagueness as to what constituted an “appropriate” amount of tea, or for that matter water.

Of course, the tea bag he refers to would not have come out of a packet.

Making Tea

Boil some water in a bowl on a Primus or stove.

When the water is on the point of boiling, insert a muslin bag containing the appropriate amount of tea.  Wave the bad gently around in the water.

After the tea bag has been in the water for about a minute, or a little longer, & the water has boiled, the bag may be removed & the infusion poured into the cups.

Milk & sugar are added to taste.

Book A, page 144.

I’m not quite sure why my father felt it necessary to write down the following recipe.  You would have thought the basic method was simple enough but then, as his subsequent note implies, he was probably operating without a full complement of kitchen utensils.

Stew, made from tinned foods

Tip the contents of 2 tins of corned beef and two tins of potatoes into a pot and heat up.

Heating up tinned stews

Hammer several nail holes or cut a hole in one end of the tin.  Then stand the tin, with the holed end uppermost, in a bowl of water.  Stand the bowl on a primus and heat up.  After the water has been boiling for several minutes the stew is ready for serving.

My father’s first recipes appear under the heading of British Cooking in the Tropics. While he was starting to include detailed observations on Malayan and Chinese food and cooking methods, he was clearly still holding fast to the best traditions of British cuisine despite the circumstances.

Welsh Rarebit

Take 9 oz of Kraft processed cheese & chop with a knife into small pieces, or grate up on a grater.

Mix up the chopped cheese with 3 yolks (only) of eggs.

Fry, using butter or margarine as a grease, and adding pepper & salt to taste.  Stir during the frying process.  Fry for several minutes.

Spread on toast.