It’s funny how, despite the plethora of cookbooks – so many and from such a variety of cultures – food channels on TV, online recipes freely available on the web and live cooking classes hosted by celebrity chefs at their restaurants, most of us stick to the recipes our mothers used when we were children. I still make Chicken Evergreen, a delectably delicate dish with a white wine sauce; Lemon Delicacy, that old favourite that is self-saucing with sponge on top (HWCFA eats a whole pudding on his own!), Apple Crumble (no explanation needed there).
Over the years, I have added my success stories to the handwritten recipe book that I still refer to. The pages are now dog-eared and blotched with a variety of ingredients, particularly the ones I make most often. Some of the recipes in this book are from my grandmother, most notably her ice cream, and also the best cornish pasties I’ve ever eaten.
My children have their particular favourites which they can have on their birthdays (I use the term ‘children’ quite loosely here, as they are well into adulthood), as it is traditional in our family to have the food you like best for birthdays – peppered steak, the lasagne I have been making for the last 50 years and which, in my opinion, could teach an Italian a thing or two, and most definitely a really hot chicken curry. I make curry with all the spices individually and chilli is always thrown in in copious amounts. It’s not a good curry unless your nose runs, and if your eyes water, even better!
I’ve given it some thought, and I’ve come to the conclusion that the reason why we still make the food we ate as children is to take us back to the days when someone else did all the cooking and dinner only involved sitting down with the family at the table and consuming it! Those were the days, my friend!