Virginia Barton

17 November 2017: Wedding Presents


17 November 2017


Idly leafing through Beowulf, as one does, a recipe for Pheasant Normande fell to the floor. Fortuitous: just what’s needed, a classy dish for those who won’t or can’t eat haggis on November 30th.

The recipe starts classically with: “Take a plump pheasant or two.”

It also calls for Calvados – there’s a drizzle left in the bottle; and Cox’s apples, a wad of butter and half a pint of thick cream. Yum. It adds:

“Serve with chicory if liked” – oh yes!

“Or a green salad.” No fear.


The faded single page for this recipe came from Tante Marie’s French Kitchen, a wedding present from my sister –  prompted by my mother I bet. It was my first cookery book and made assumptions way beyond my culinary skills.

“Make a pint of béchamel and add 4 egg yolks.” No mention of adding them at a low temperature.

“Whisk the whites stiffly and fold in, also 4 ozs grated strong cheese. Do not allow the cheese to become filandreux.” Stringy, in French.

It was a cheese soufflé and once mastered became a Friday regular.


What was the most useful present you received for your wedding? Think carefully about this one. Not, I suspect one of the three silver toast racks. Perhaps the Cona coffee machine? Does anyone make coffee this way nowadays?

Shares in ICI were pretty good and certainly useful when we cashed them in years later. The hoover, the set of knives, forks and spoons, or the huckaback guest towels?

BH’s friends gave elegant pieces of silver; silver that had been salvaged from the ravages of War and carried secretly over many tortuous miles.

Today the element of surprise (and disappointment) has largely vanished: couples want money to choose their own stuff.


Shame on you Ginny! No mention of Thanksgiving!

And a kind friend sent my fave Hershey’s Kisses, “pumpkin spice” flavour.

Have they produced a haggis flavour for St Andrew’s Day, I wonder?






Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


(c) All Rights Reserved. Site Designed by Magtype CR