Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Not Cordon Bleu

Regina & Peter, still slim after all these years

If anybody thinks I'm some cordon-bleu chef, let me dispel the misconception. All the recipes that I describe as having cooked myself were borrowed from friends and family, collected from magazines or invented over 30-odd years of trial and error.

When I got married to my first husband in 1977, we were on a very tight budget (story of my life!) and we took in a lodger, who happened to be one of his old schoolmates doing a PhD in organic chemistry at University College London. Geoff paid for full board and arrived from UCL very hungry, eager for some culinary delights. Poor thing... After a few weeks of suffering in silence, he gave me a lovely present, which I still have to this day: a basic cookery book! Martin the husband had very numb tastebuds (his mother was a lousy cook), or else he chose to suffer in silence forever.

The improved cooking skills, sponsored by good old Geoff, didn't save that marriage, but at least Peter managed to marry a person capable of much more than boiling an egg. That book Geoff gave me is the only proper cookery book I own, apart from a recent one I was given at our local supermarket, a notebook where I write things down and put magazine cuttings, and a fundraising recipe booklet from our sons' school.

The recipes on this blog are simple, everyday fare. Blog is short for weblog. Well, since I started it, I've been photographing everything as it happens, what an appropriate term!

I found out that a limited budget can work wonders for the imagination. When I married Peter in 1984, money was extremely limited. We used to buy very economical cuts of meat, heaps of vegetables and I would invent all sorts of variations with the ingredients available. Nothing was wasted and what wasn't eaten on one occasion would be turned into soup. The years when we were a bit more affluent were the worst in terms of eating a balanced diet and I was less adventurous in the kitchen.

As they say, "necessity is the mother of invention."

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