With Christmas coming I need to refer to my copy of ‘Constance Spry’s Cookery Book’-for seasonal recipes such as Christmas cake, plum pudding and ham glaze.
It was first published in 1956 and has since become a cook’s bible.
Constance Spry was an extraordinary woman. Born in 1886, she became a lecturer for the Irish Women’s National Health Association after studying hygiene, physiology and nursing.
At the beginning of WW1 she was secretary of the Dublin Red Cross. Constance then continued her war effort in England becoming head of women’s staff at the Ministry of Aircraft Production.
A period as a leading women’s educator followed when she oversaw the education of factory girls in London’s East End.
In 1929 she opened a florist shop which became fashionable, creating floral arrangements for royal weddings and the Queen’s coronation.
Constance Spry then established a domestic science school in 1946 and wrote her famous cookery book with Rosemary Hume.
One of her many interests was cultivating old varieties of roses. She brought the antique style of roses back into fashion. In 1961, a young rose breeder called David Austin honoured her with his first commercial rose by naming it, ‘Constance Spry.’
The photographs show ‘Constance Spry’ roses rambling up a large Ironbark tree in my garden.
I can’t decide which is more pretty; the extravagant pink blooms or the perfect tight buds which are a deeper shade of pink.
All these years after her death in 1960, the remarkable Constance Spry still enriches our modern gardens and kitchens.
Now let me see, which page has her recipe for brandy butter?