The Friday Five – the books of my mum


Mother’s Day is just around the corner (well, it is here in the UK at least), and time to reflect on the mums in our lives. I didn’t want to think about books to give mums, but thinking about the books my mum has given me, or that I really associate with her.

Delias Summer Collection

Delia Smith’s Summer Collection – gosh, summer of 1993. My mum queued at George’s in Bristol (now a Jamie’s Italian) to get two copies of this, and we both have a signed edition. Both our copies are well thumbed and food stained, and dishes turn up in both homes. The halloumi with the garlicky, lime dressing is a standby dish, and I still love it today.


Cooking for your Freezer


Cooking for your Freezer – there were any number of St. Michael cookbooks I could have chosen, as I think Mum had quite a few of these. We certainly had this one, and one for special occasions, and I think a few more besides. Whenever I see these, usually in charity shops now, then they bring on a real sense of nostalgia for me. In fact, I now have one, and love leafing through it, just for the trip down memory lane. I might even cook from it eventually.


Cake Decorating & Sugarcraft


Cake Decorating and Sugarcraft – oh, my brother and I spent hours looking at this and some of the other cake decorating books. My mum was incredibly inventive in her birthday cake decorating, and hopefully I’ve carried that tradition on for MGG. This book is quite technical and not something that I’ve ever got into, but does bring back happy memories.


Be Ro Home Recipes


Be-Ro Home Recipes – I cannot think how many times we baked from this, how many pages were stained with cake batter, or coming loose from the staples. I don’t know what year our version was, but I keep meaning to buy one. If only to make some Australian Crunch, not had that in years!


Dairy Book of Home Management


Dairy Book of Home Management – this is exactly the edition we had, and whilst not purely a cookery book, I remember spending lots of hours looking through it. The wallpaper designs in the home decor sections are particularly memorable. But it’s got a great basic cooking section, and something perfect to start with.

I’d love to know about the cookbooks that you remember from your childhood. Not quite your inheritance tracks, but your inheritance cookbooks, the impact your mum has had on what you do, and don’t, cook today.


The Friday Five – let’s start at the very beginning…


If, as a foodie, you’re at all like me, you will have shelves groaning with cookery books, food writing and magazines about food. The food and drink section of any bookshop will be your first stop, where you will lovingly eye up titles. Sound familiar?

So I’ve decided to feature 5 books each Friday, about different aspects of food and drink, some serious, some not, some for true foodies, some for dabblers, but always something that you can add to your wishlist. And let me know what yours are on each subject, love to hear! May just find a new title to add to those bookshelves!

For the first outing of the Friday Five, I’m starting at the beginning, with the 5 books that really fired my love of food.


The Be-Ro Home Recipes Book


1. The Be-Ro Home Recipes Cookbook – I still have my mum’s copy of this that is probably at least 35 years old, but love each and every recipe. When I’m feeling nostalgic, or just need comfort baking I turn to this. If you missed out on this, there’s a 40th anniversary edition available.

2. Delia Smith’s One is Fun – I had this when I first left home, and cooked from it lots. When I left one particular flatshare, I discovered that although I could cook most of the braised steak au poivre blindfold, I couldn’t finish the dish. This because my flatmate always did the last bit whilst I made the mash. The chocolate mousse is still my go to recipe.

3. Real Fast Food by Nigel Slater – any book with recipes for bacon sandwiches and smartie sandwiches is absolutely fine by me. Spoke to the need for good food, in a hurry, possibly the worse for wear. Which happened quite a lot.

4. The New Moosewood Cookbook – my godmother sent me this. I think she knew I was cooking from number 3 a lot. There aren’t a lot of smarties in this one. Or bacon. But I did cook quite a lot from it in attempts to be healthy.

5. A La Carte Magazine – not strictly speaking a book, but in the 80s this was food porn at the highest level! My mum used to buy it and I used to spend hours looking at the recipes and photography, which was luscious. Can’t even find any on eBay, but Gastronomy Domine has a recipe on her blog from there, so have to make do with that!

Love to hear what were the books that stoked your interest in food! And if anyone has any copies of A La Carte, be interested in hearing from you! With the resurgence of dinner parties, it must be time to bring back the Black and White dinner parties!