As I might have mentioned I collect cook books –avidly. Currently I have about a 140 (if I count the ones about wine as well, which I do). It’s ironic because I once swore I would make do with Delia Smith’s complete cookery course and that would be enough to see me through. This example of youthful silliness was my attempt at rebellion, my mother has a far more impressive recipe collection and I foolishly thought I could deny what is clearly a genetic imperative...
I held out pretty well until a vegetarian boyfriend coincided with a job in a bookshop, searching for things to cook escalated into searching for cookbooks. The vegetarian is long gone, but the books remain and multiply, hopefully to give helpful council in situations like the one I find myself in today.
A mini clan gathering is in the offing I have offered to cook, and mum has offered some gift wrapped Partridges she’s just been presented with. Neither of us has cooked them before, but it seems a shame to look a gift bird in the beak and somewhere amongst the cookbooks lays the answer. With uncharacteristic restraint I’m only consulting three of them; otherwise I’m most likely to end up balancing a stack of books over a foot high and run out of time to actually cook in.
I love to cook, and generally the results are positive, but I am reliant on good clear instruction to achieve anything above the (very) ordinary. The more I learn about food the more I realise how much the little tips and tricks matter, and frankly I don’t trust people who don’t follow recipe’s – fine once you’ve mastered something. Time then to tinker to your hearts content, but I lack the natural genius which makes the throw it together and hope for the best approach work. I also lack the training to make books by professional chefs anything other than intimidating, but I do live in a city blessed with an excellent daily market which means a great range of cheap ingredients.