TWO deaths : Betty Jukes and Jean Taverner

Share your memories and stories from the Hertford Christ's Hospital School, which closed in 1985, when the two schools integrated to the Horsham site....

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Re: TWO deaths : Betty Jukes and Jean Taverner

Post by englishangel » Sun Jul 03, 2011 11:06 pm

Ah, that explains a lot. I don't have a teaspoon in my cup/mug (old family 'story' about someone who poked his eye out), but when having a coffee in a coffee shop I always ask for black with cold milk. Medium Americano with cold skinny I believe.
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Re: TWO deaths : Betty Jukes and Jean Taverner

Post by icomefromalanddownunder » Mon Jul 04, 2011 12:59 am

If I don't remove the spoon it invariably inserts itself in my left nostril.

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Re: TWO deaths : Betty Jukes and Jean Taverner

Post by Alexandra Thrift » Sun Jul 10, 2011 3:11 pm

Hi Everybody,

So sorry to hear about the passing of two of our never to be forgotten teachers.

I remember Miss Jukes as hard working and dedicated and some of her recipes absolutely delicious. Unfortunately I am by nature
a very spontaneous and experimental type of person and was unable to always follow the rote , perfectionist form of cookery that Miss Jukes taught ( although this was undoubtedly what the examination boards and Christ's Hospital School of the time required). "You may be a good scientist Alexandwa, but you are NOT good at cookewy" ....were Miss Jukes stern words after I messed up some recipe or other. So, aged 12 or 13 , I accepted that I was not good at cookery.

It turns out that I'm an excellent cook....it took me years to realise that it was simply that the squeaky clean, no-improvisation-or-imagination-allowed method of cooking, simply didn't suit me. I needed the freedom to try things out and invent and make mistakes.
My East-End Jewish mother had learned wonderful Yiddisher recipes watching her mother in the kitchen of their Bethnal Green home. Nothing was written down, for my Dutch/Yiddish speaking British born grandmother never learned to read or write. There were no set quantities in the traditional recipes. Everything was done by eye, taste and experience. Very special and delicious.
So I watched my own mother, and when I cook these recipes nobody doubts my culinary skills.

I have only the very best of memories of Miss Taverner. A lady who overcame her natural shyness to pass on her great knowledge and love of music to us lot. Always modest, in her quiet but determined way she encouraged us to strive for perfection. I am so grateful that, for a time, I was leader of the school choir and that she was kind enough to give me a thankyou gift when I left....obviously it should have been me giving her the acknowledgement. I am grateful for all the music both she and Nancy Cordery introduced us to.

Singing in the chapel and later being a member of the school choir under the tutelage of Jean Taverner was the very nicest and most wonderful part of my years at Christ's Hospital and I have carried the love of music inspired in me, throughout my life.
Last edited by Alexandra Thrift on Tue Jul 12, 2011 12:41 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Perfect description , Angela !

Post by Alexandra Thrift » Sun Jul 10, 2011 3:28 pm

I wrote my previous post before reading the thread. Love your contribution Munch ! I'm sure you are a wonderful cook and comedy musical composer.... you are also a fantastically observant writer.

Your description is EXACTLY as I remember Miss Jukes

"When I see Miss Jukes in my mind's eye, however, it's not in the Cookery School. It's dressed up for Speech Day, or similar occasion, in the lovat-green perfectly-tailored suit which rumour had it she had made herself. She'd be wearing co-ordinating upswept-wing spectacles, shoes with a slight heel and a brooch pinned to her left lapel. An immaculate look, a brisk manner, and, for my father, a coy blush."

Wonderful , Angela ! and thanks also for the detail of your "A" level Home Economics course with Betty.

Quite honestly Angela, I think you are more the Nigella Lawson type of cook :wink:

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Miss Jukes - a few extra thoughts -

Post by Angela Woodford » Sat Jul 30, 2011 9:04 am

Alex - thank you for your kind words! :lol:

I was thinking about the way in which we were taught by Miss Jukes. Cooking is an art as well as a science. Providing delicious food for self/family/friends, whether to a strict budget or when able to be lavish, demonstates love, care, self-expression, concern.... I could go on, but you catch my drift! And there's family tradition and culture too, as Alex has most interestingly pointed out. It's complicated....

Miss Jukes' job was to teach Home Economics as a science. The 'B' formers had to be taught according to the exam syllabus for 'O' and 'A' level, the 'A' formers her traditional recipes that covered the necessary basics. Miss Jukes was possibly one of the most efficient women ever. She was occasionally kind to girls who appealed to her, and showed a rather touching interest in those from large families.

My own mother cooked by eye, rough estimation, tablespoons and didn't weigh anything. I'd done a fair amount of family cooking by the time I stood, bug-eyed with fear, in the Cookery School. This wasn't cooking as I'd known it. It was Home Economics, science, domination and often humiliation. Miss Jukes' brusque efficiency was very terrible for me, and I can't say that a brink-of-tears state of nervous exhaustion week by week for the two years of 'A' level did me any good.

However, I have eventually become a very accurate cook, especially when baking. (I treasure my lovely digital scales.) The teachings of Miss Jukes have little to do with it! It has been my long-ago nursing training that showed me the appeal of exact measurement, care, essential neatness and manual dexterity. I don't suppose that Miss Jukes would ever have believed that one day her stupid, absent-minded, clumsy pupil would be approached by patients checking that it would be she who would remove their supra-pubic catheter, perform the heel-prick blood test for their new baby or take out their tiny facial sutures.

What did I learn from Miss Jukes?

1 All things must eventually pass.
2 If teaching a group, never show up one individual as stupid, or another as particularly good.
3 Read the instructions. Now read them again.
4 If you're really broke, buy junk furniture and paint it white.
5 That women can be really awful to each other. (Poor Mrs Owen!)
"Baldrick, you wouldn't recognise a cunning plan if it painted itself purple, and danced naked on top of a harpsichord singing "Cunning plans are here again.""

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Re: TWO deaths : Betty Jukes and Jean Taverner

Post by sejintenej » Sat Jul 30, 2011 8:28 pm

Alexandra Thrift wrote: It turns out that I'm an excellent cook....it took me years to realise that it was simply that the squeaky clean, no-improvisation-or-imagination-allowed method of cooking, simply didn't suit me. I needed the freedom to try things out and invent and make mistakes.
My East-End Jewish mother had learned wonderful Yiddisher recipes watching her mother in the kitchen of their Bethnal Green home. Nothing was written down, for my Dutch/Yiddish speaking British born grandmother never learned to read or write. There were no set quantities in the traditional recipes. Everything was done by eye, taste and experience. Very special and delicious.
So I watched my own mother, and when I cook these recipes nobody doubts my culinary skills.
Angela wrote: My own mother cooked by eye, rough estimation, tablespoons and didn't weigh anything. I'd done a fair amount of family cooking by the time I stood, bug-eyed with fear, in the Cookery School. This wasn't cooking as I'd known it.
Evidently Miss Jukes did not follow in the footsteps of the historical great chefs. They are very difficult to follow because they used only gave a list of ingredients and no quantities, temperatures or cooking times. (Bocuse who wrote up to recently, follows this precedent to a certain extent). For meats there is a considerable margin for personal taste (one of our local restaurants roasts lamb for 5 hours) but desserts, cakes etc. even a minute wrong cooking time can be fatal whilst for macarons the egg whites must be separated not 1 nor 2 nor 3 but ideally 5 days in advance. As Alexandra writes, everything is eye, taste and experience but even experience doesn't always work. I have just changed my source of flour - in making a set amount of pastry I used to use 3 tablespoons of cold water but with the new flour I have to use a half tablespoon water plus a tablespoon of bread flour: try telling that to Miss Jukes (who, no doubt, actually had your best interests in mind)
Strangely, my mother was the chef in a "big house" who also did most things by eye but I learned nothing from her!

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Re: TWO deaths : Betty Jukes and Jean Taverner

Post by Lushabelle » Fri Aug 12, 2011 10:10 pm

I only had Miss Jukes for a brief cooking semester (6 weeks???) - I was filled with fear and trepidation as her repuation preceeded her! As the eldest of 5, I was used to bulk and rather plain cooking by my mother (who actually hated cooking and baked because she had to with so many mouth to feed) so I was looking forward to creating something a little more fancy but at the same time, I really didn't know HOW to cook so I was terrified of making mistakes and getting in trouble.

Only a brief few weeks and yet they are some of me strongest memories of Hertford! I could take you into the cookery school and show you around as if it was yesterday. Somehow it gave me the confidence to cook that I had never had before - I'm no great cook now by any stretch of the imagination but I have no fear at trying anything either. In fact, it is the antithesis of Miss Jukes telling us to follow the recipe to the letter - but I had so little knowledge of cooking up to then that even this was an adventure and gave me the courage that I needed to plunge in!

The one lesson that she taught me that is seared in my brain is that you only need the tiniest bit of butter to grease the patty pans. No doubt told because of her frugal nature but I probably lavished on the stuff and was told off as a consequence - well it worked and now I always put the smallest amount on - and think of Miss Jukes just about every time I do it!! Passed the information onto my daughter too so the legend lives on!

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Re: TWO deaths : Betty Jukes and Jean Taverner

Post by Angela Woodford » Wed Aug 24, 2011 10:21 am

fra828 wrote:Thanks for those recipes Angela W, I love the simplicity of the ingredients. My favourite B Jukes recipe was melting moments biscuits, which I used to make in the holidays and sell at the local WI market-

I've just had to flip back to this thread for the MM recipe. I made the MM's (buttery ones!) as a goodbye offering for my knitting group - was amazed when they were received with great enthusiasm. Now I've come back here to copy out the recipe for a knitter-and-spinner MM new enthusiast. My CH recipe book has been packed! Thank goodness I put the recipe here! And of course I will reproduce it in BJ number points.

No, no, Miss Jukes, I didn't lose it, honestly! :axe:
"Baldrick, you wouldn't recognise a cunning plan if it painted itself purple, and danced naked on top of a harpsichord singing "Cunning plans are here again.""

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