The One Hundred Per Cent Feminine Kitchen.

By Alison May 1, 2007 4 Comments 3 Min Read


"You see, I began my household economy on the masculine principle of waiting for things to turn up. There is a really vital distinction between this and the feminine principle of turning things up without waiting.

In other words for a brief space "We did". If anything was missing, we ordered it as the occasion arose. That seems to me to be really the best way of doing things. It is the mans way, rather than the womans way, but honestly it seems to me to be the best way. A woman might have been more methodical, and in some ways more economical, but I am quite certain that she would have littered up her kitchen and pantry with all sorts of unnecessary objects. I have never seen a hundred percent feminine kitchen, for example, which does not contain at least three of those hideous whirring machines that are used for beating up eggs. When the eggs are beaten up, they are invariably used to create a disgusting sort of sweet in which a loathsome cloud of hot white egg hovers over a brooding mass of raspberry jam and sponge-cake. Such instruments of torture are missing from my kitchen for the simple reason that I have never felt any great urge to devour such diabolical dishes.

Again I have never seen a hundred per cent feminine kitchen which is not stocked with quantities of highly  enamelled tins, deceitfully stamped,  on the outside , with the names of commodities which they never contain. There is, for example, a tin labelled RICE, which invariably contains a ball of string and a photograph of the cook’s fiance. There is also a tin labelled TEA, which holds anything from cocoa to sultanas. And always there is a tin labelled with that terrible word SAGO. I have never opened this tin for fear I should actually find sago lurking inside it, like a fiendish jellyfish, which would be more than I could bear.

Such cheating symbols are absent from my kitchen. On the other hand, there are a great many things which are usually absent from the hundred per cent feminine kitchen. They are, for example, at least a dozen corkscrews, instead of the solitary corkscrew, which women consider efficient- a corkscrew which is usually kept concealed in the knife drawer behind a lot of old dusters. There are also quantities of matches. And in the larder there are rows of tongues and bottled chickens and all the things one wants when one feels like raiding the larder at midnight.      

However we must not linger in the kitchen. There are too many exciting things going on in the other parts of the cottage."

And that me Darlings is why I love Beverley Nichols. For solid, combust domestic opinion. For a keen eye for the vageries of  housekeeping and a gently comic take on life entirely devoid of self conscience. Yummy.

Start with  "A Thatched Roof", read "Down The Kitchen Sink", followed by  "Merry Hall" and "Down The Garden Path" and then run riot amongst one of his many other wonderful odes to village life…


  1. Gayla says:

    Oh, Alison, you are so dear! What wonderful posts lately. Did you hear the news about Victoria magazine?

  2. Simone says:

    Hi Alison. Thanks for introducing me to Beverley Nichols. I have just started reading 'A Thatched Roof' and am looking forward to reading his other books. Without you I may never have discoverd his books. Thank You.

  3. Clare says:

    Hi Alison, That is a wonderful book – I enjoyed it so much! I have several others of his waiting to be read – I hope to have the time over the summer months! Clare x

  4. dianeinjapan says:

    This Yank has completely missed out on the works of Beverley Nichols in the past, but she plans to remedy that very soon, indeed. Thank you, thank you!

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