mrs beeton

The other day I was having my morning coffee in a cafe that had copies of Psychology magazine lying around, and I found a photo of Mrs Beeton, one of history’s most famous cookery writers. I’m impressed by this colour plate from her famous cookbook, I must track down the whole volume and have a good look at the illustrations.

When I moved in with Stuart, I think he had four cookbooks: two from his mum that were unchanged Victorian recipes, a slow cooker book, and Delia’s One is Fun book with recipes that he doubled when we were dating. Now we have about twenty cookbooks, but I still mostly only use about three of them. My favourite one ellenlindner recommended to me, and which unfortunately is out of print, Cooking like Mummyji: real British Asian cooking by Vicky Bhogal. (You can pick it up used for a mere 75 quid on Amazon.) But I see she has some new books out, so I might have to investigate.

I mostly learned how to cook from Delia Smith. My mother is a brilliant cook (and even better now than she used to be), but she was always so good that I unhelpfully let her get on with it, and just stirred the occasional sauce or ferried dishes and coffees back and forth at one of her zillion dinner parties. When I left home at 17, I only knew how to burn omlettes and eggy toast, so my Moscow flatmates and later Stuart had to endure a lot of my experimentation. I once managed to bake cinnamon rolls in a saucepan in a Russian oven with no temperature markings, from a used Better Homes & Gardens cookbook I managed to pick up in an English language bookshop… I was well proud of those.

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