Christmas is nearly with us. By now parents will have made up their minds whether they are slipping eleven plus papers and books into Christmas stockings. This leaves time to decide on what to cook on Christmas Day. Looking through old and new recipe books must rank very highly on any pre- Christmas contentment scale.
I am indebted to our 1964 Woman’s Own Cook Book. There is a price of 24 shillings and three pence written in fading pencil inside the front cover. The other pencil marks are a number 126411 and the enigmatic letters CA/ey. Someone, many years ago, knew the significance of these hardy inscriptions.
The preface starts with a comment of genius. Being a good cook is “Probably nothing more than that time-honoured definition of genius: `An infinite capacity for taking pains’.”
1. Use a good recipe – and follow it exactly, weighing or measuring the ingredients exactly.
2. Be brave and original. Make the best of the wonderful variety of food that is available.
3. Equip your kitchen with the basic essentials.
4. Do not scorn simple dishes.
5. Do not attempt too much in the early stages.
These rules could just as easily be applied to the eleven plus. To understand how these precepts can be applied we need to study a further statement: `The less the help available, the simpler the meal.’
We can now see that parents of eleven plus children may need to keep any preparation simple. They must be prepared to commit themselves and their children – but must pace themselves. The eleven plus year can be a long time! Possibly the most important thing to remember is to keep any bowls of flowers low enough to allow all parties, when working on eleven plus papers, to be able to see each other.