And so it begins….
I create recipes, some days they are harder to compile than others. My main problem is my addiction to random, unwanted cookery books. I cannot pass a secondhand bookshop without undertaking a thorough investigation.
I can spend hours amongst the well thumbed, kitchen-stained volumes; it is almost a religious experience. My first choice are the ones with notes in the margin, a small neat hand which adds or removes ingredients, suggests accompaniments or rates a recipe out of ten. Sometimes, and it is rare, one discovers a handwritten sheet inserted between the pages, the title led by some long lost relative…Aunt Maisie’s Christmas Pudding, Jean’s Chicken Surprise or Mother’s Sponge. Occasionally a cutting from a yellowed newspaper or magazine falls from the book, marking the page with another culinary delight. For me, this is the gold at the end of the rainbow. The very smell of old books is magical, the rustle and dedications, ‘Christmas ’39’ or ‘For Lousia’s 18th’ or those ‘in’ quips involving newlyweds or students.
All these enhance my recipes and….unfortunately….divert me, and with a computer screen in front of me bearing the words ‘Burn’s Night Recipe’ and a blank space underneath, I am forced to delve into my library only to emerge hours later wondering what I was supposed to be doing.
My ultimate dream would be to discover an old farmhouse notebook, handwritten in pencil and stained by years of use, full of tips and recipes handed down from generation to generation….but these are things of the past…another beautiful tradition destroyed by progress and technology.