This brilliant recipe was given to us by James, one of this weekend’s diners, and had he not reminded me that I was looking for recipes, I would have forgotten to get the guest book out once again… so thank you James, for reminding me, for bringing a recipe, for bringing your wife and for being such lovely guests.

Taken from ‘The Stag Cookbook’, a 1922 classic which teaches cooking to men ‘weakened by a fire of feminine raillery & sarcasm’, I give you (via James):

Hudson Maxim – Spaghetti

Take one package of vermicelli or spaghetti, and put it into a saucepan, crushing it in the hand, then put in hot water, and salt a little more than will suit the taste, and boil for an hour.

While the vermicelli or spaghetti is cooking, take a quart of milk and heart three-quarters – or 24 ounces – of it until it boils. Then stir into the eight ounces of cold milk a level cupful of flour, or two tablespoonfuls of flour, pretty well heaped, and then stir the thickened milk into the boiling milk and cook slowly for ten minutes.

Then add three-quarters of a pound of good, ripe, old American cheese, and about half a pound of butter. Then drain the water off the vermicelli or spaghetti and put in from one and one half pints to a quart of canned tomatoes. Heat the vermicelli or spaghetti to the boiling point; and while the mixture of cheese, butter, milk and flour is still hot, stir the two together, then keep hot and serve hot. Do not boil any more, because further boiling would tend to cause the tomatoes to coagulate the milk in the mixture. I prefer to use a mixture of vermicelli and spaghetti instead of all spaghetti or all vermicelli.

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Well, I’m not sure what the health authorities would say about ‘ a little more salt than will suit the taste’, but I think any recipe that calls for ‘good, ripe, old American cheese’ has got to be a winner. Picture me, later in the week, in my local German supermarket asking for ‘old American cheese’. Wonderful. I’m also pleased to see that they advice against cooking the pasta for longer than an hour. Because, quite clearly, 60 minutes is the perfect length of time to boil pasta.

I promised you ‘Mammy’s Lemon Cake’, and it IS coming – I just need some more time to translate it from the original German.