The Friday Five – For my teenage MGG


Hard to believe it, another year has passed, and now I’m waking up with a teenage daughter in the house. Every year has brought its own challenges and laughs, spills and thrills, and I’m sure the year ahead will be no different.

But as the teenage years are with us, and no doubt ever more independence, then I thought it was definitely time to think about the cookbook library I would start building for MGG for when she wants to get into the kitchen, or has a kitchen, however tiny, of her own. Not quite my inheritance tracks, but these would be the cookbooks I’d gift her:


Tamasin's Kitchen Bible - a perfect gift for any food lover, the cookbook I'd save in a fire


Tamasin’s Kitchen Bible – maybe by the time she’s ready for this it might be back in print, but I love this book. I turn to it for reminders on basic recipes, for inspirations on lazy days and high days, and just for when I’m wondering what to cook. I love Tamasin’s writing, and the recipes are easy to follow, and so couldn’t be a better set up for anyone who wants to cook good food.


How to Eat - a perfect gift for any kind of food lover


How to Eat – we were always team Nigella here, and there are plenty of her cookbooks on my shelves. I had to think about which one, and it could have been Kitchen, it could have been Domestic Goddess, but for covering all kinds of cooking occasions, from cooking for one to cooking for a crowd, then I love How to Eat. I love the whole ethos behind it, one I’m fairly sure MGG has embraced.


Ottolenghi the Cookbook - perfect gift for a food lover


Ottolenghi – this is in here because it’s a really well used book in our kitchen. Like the previous two, there are splattered pages and stuck together pages, and memories of happy mealtimes. I’d like MGG to have this one for days when she needs to put something together quickly for a group of people, and doesn’t want to spend all her time in the kitchen, but still wants amazing flavours. It would also teach her to maintain an interesting store cupboard of flavours!


Clinton St Baking Company Cookbook - perfect gift for a food lover who's ever crossed the threshold for pancakes


Clinton St Baking Company – for sentimental reasons, and because she’ll need the secret of my awesome pancakes and incredible raspberry jam. Of course they’re not my recipes, but I’ve made them lots to rave reviews from her, and I’m sure she’d want to continue the tradition. Not to mention we have some great memories together of a couple of fantastic breakfasts there too.


Friends at my table - perfect cookbook gift for a food lover


Friends at My Table – what I hope MGG will have picked up from me is that even the simplest ingredients, cooked well and with love, shared with friends and loved ones make for the best kind of meals, that even the best Michelin starred meal with the wrong people can’t hold a candle to. This book is entirely about those kind of meals, one not necessarily for every day but for days when you want to break bread with those you love. I wish her many of those.

So, another year gone, many meals enjoyed, including no poor experiences with tofu. I’m looking forward in the year ahead to showing her some of my favourite places to eat in Hong Kong, and exploring great eating in Australia. And I’m sure there’ll be some great days of good meals here too, and adventures to relive.

As always, love you lots MGG!


Published by


Helen Tarver

Collector of great gifts and fabulous food, mum, cake baker & eater, wine opener. I write about food and the gift of it in its many forms.

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