I adore cookbooks, and like many of us I have a large collection, some of them gifted, but by and large, I have been hooked into their purchase with the lure of the perfect and mouthwatering triumphs held within. More recently, I have been seduced by the glossy pages showing large gatherings of healthy, happy and surely successful people enjoying such triumphs at the beach, batch or their enormous and perfectly landscaped back yards. I want to be sitting at a table with white linen, effortless seasonal table settings, laughing friends, with my pick of delicious food before me. ‘You book, are coming home with me.’
I want to be sitting at that table with white linen and delicious food.
Once home I savour each page, usually over a coffee and biscuit, deciding which creation I will wow my family with first. I love to try new things and the excitement of the new book gives me energy. There then follows a whirlwind of shopping, baking, scraping, cooking, presenting and eating; all with varying amounts of success and vast amount of washing up. Exhausted, my newest favorite cookbook will be placed alongside all my past favorites, until they are called into action again by the REQUEST. This usually comes from my children begging, mummy can you make some more of those browny biscuit things, or my husband asking for the ribs again. Sometimes it is a friend who needs inspiration or wants to recreate a dish I have taken along to their house at some point. However they come, I usually find requests are for the same old recipes again and again. I have got into the habit of keeping these in a folder, which saves me mindlessly leafing through all my books, as I can never quite remember where each dish sits. I also keep here the food that has received wows and any dish that stood out in the crowd from my catering jobs.
As a result of this lifestyle, I have a shelf of sleek, well-preserved cookbooks, with a tatty red folder pushed into their midst. It is a food stained mix of everything from quick make hummus, pork ribs through to baklava, from my cookbooks and others, as I too make requests. This eclectic library of information is kept on everything from pink paper (secrets recorded by another and passed to me), bits of card cut directly from some box or other to magazine clips -the receptionists are usually more than happy to take a copy from a magazine, I was recently informed, as I denied ripping out a piece on tofu at the doctors.
Excuse me, would you like me to photo copy that for you.
Over the years I have tried to control this file, but it seems to have a life of its own and will happily jump on the floor at the slightest excuse. As I picked the pages up on such an occasion, silently swearing to burn the lot, my daughter tiptoed by and asked why I simply did not put everything in a file on my laptop, as I could share and access it hassle free. She was right of course, but somehow I never dragged myself into the 20th century, it all just seemed like too much hard work. I will use this format then to release the pages, one scrap at a time. Take your pick and please, please add as this folder can now get as big as it likes.
You will find the recipes contained within this folder in the recipe category.