The fascination with historic vegetarian cookbooks and the recipes contained within continue at a pace.

In this regard we have decided to test two recipes included in Cassell’s famous original Vegetarian Cookery publication from 1899.

Note:  We love the prose written when describing old recipes and so we have adopted the style of this writing for authenticity’s sake. Exact weights, of course, are not mentioned.

No I. Sparghetti [sic].

Sparghetti is a peculiar form of macaroni. Ordinary macaroni is made in the form of long tubes, and when macaroni pudding is served in schools, it is irreverently referred to by the boys as gas-pipes. Sparghetti is not a tube (like macaroni), but simply macaroni made in the shape of ordinary wax-tapers [long strips for lighting candles] , which it very much resembles.

In Italy it is customary to start a dinner with a dish of Sparghetti, and should the dinner consist as well of soup, entrée, salad and sweet, the Sparghetti would be served before the soup.


Take, say, half a pound of Sparghetti, wash it in cold water, and throw it instantly into boiled salted water; boil it till it is tender, about twenty minutes, drain it, put it into a hot vegetable dish, and mix in two or three tablespoons of vegan cheese, toss it about lightly with a couple of forks and till the vegan cheese melts and forms what may be called cobwebs on tossing it about.

Add also two table spoonfuls of tomato conserve [now called passata] and serve immediately.


Cooking spaghetti is a quite simple and well-known way of cooking; however, we tried this old recipe and were amazed at how the old method of cooking really does improve the taste and, in addition, the overall appearance (less yellow) of this rather bland food.

All the same we do suggest that for today’s taste, it would be very much advisable to add quite a good shaking of chilli flakes, or English mustard to this recipe, in order to rescue such a simple dish as ordinary spaghetti from its utter blandness.

Note: The above recipe is described and published for the sake of historical interest, mainly because of the archaic spelling of spaghetti, and is not promoting the nutritional benefits of pasta (as we call it today ) which are virtually nil.

However if the pasta is accompanied by a vitamin supplement, such as products created by Veganpicks supplements, then this rather plain food can be tolerated.

Our next old recipe will be on the more healthy subject of oatmeal porridge.