It’s hard to believe that over three years have passed since I started writing this blog, and about 164 Fridays. I don’t know why I started it, other than I’ve always loved a good bit of alliteration, and because cookbooks and books on food are always top of my gift list.
I tried to work out what to feature. I’ve looked already at most popular, books to stroke, books I was jealous of other people owning. Then there’s the slightly quirky ones, like cookbooks not to take too seriously, alternative cookbooks for students, the ones I never use and even Strictly Come Cooking and the cookbooks of the film.
So in the end, I decided to put up the five that I would pack MGG off with, come the day she heads off somewhere with her own kitchen. I hope I will have sent her off with some good skills in the kitchen already, and with an appreciation of good food from good producers.
Tamasin’s Kitchen Bible – I have no idea why this book is so expensive, or not in print, but it’s such a great book, and I refer to it a lot. If I don’t know what to cook, or how to cook something unusual that perhaps has turned up in the veg box, this is where I turn.
Short & Sweet – up until a month ago, I think my go to baking book for her would have been Domestic Goddess, but I have to admit it’s been replaced by Short & Sweet. I’m only four recipes in on the baking front, all worked brilliantly, and just delivers great, interesting recipes, brilliant techniques, and great writing. That said, Nigella’s is still my go to brownie recipe if I’m not making a gluten free version.
Delia’s Summer Collection – my mum bought me this one, she even queued at what was then George’s on Park Street in Bristol to have Delia sign it. Can’t believe this was published in 1994, but the number of stains over the pages show how many times it’s been cooked from. When I start cooking from this again, I know summer is back.
Every Day by Bill Granger – I’ve got a few of Bill’s books, and I love the photography in them and hanker after that billowing white linen in the sunshine lifestyle. That said, will settle for the pretty decent recipes for all kinds of occasions, and particularly good for breakfast. Berry hotcakes are one of our fave recipes, which we make together.
Arabesque by Claudia Roden – I ummed and aahed over the 5th choice, particularly if I wanted to choose something to take her cooking beyond mainstream modern British. And I guess the cover of this one made me pick it, as MGG loves pomegranate, and has spent many happy hours bashing out the seeds with a rolling pin, and getting juice everywhere. There are lots of flavours in here that I know she loves as well, and lots of great recipes that are great to make for big gatherings of friends around a table.
If MGG learns nothing else from these books, I hope that it is that good food, however simple, cooked with love and shared with good friends is the best kind of food of all.