I enjoy recipe books but despite enjoying them I can never find a recipe when I need it which makes me resent my recipe books. It’s just too much bother to look through things when you’re tired and so you might stick on a bowl or porridge or eat a can of tinned rice.
If I bring some courgettes for example home from the market I quickly get tired flicking through book after book until I stumble across courgette recipes I can make with the ingredients that I have. So I’m making a big book that has recipes labelled under different vegetables and fruit and various meat.
My main reasons for doing this are:-
1) I’d like to try and make more meals around whatever vegetables or fruit are in season. If I ever get space I’d like to try growing some of my own. So it’s sort of getting used to the natural rhythms of the seasons and cooking around what we can grow in the UK and Ireland.
2) I’m trying to eat more foods that can be grown locally but seeing if they can be made more exciting or tasty. For instance is there a nice recipe for carrots or cabbages which doesn’t use much energy to prepare and is easy to make but doesn’t taste bland. There are some vegetables which you can get in your local corner shop pretty much anywhere but they don’t seem sexy or appealing on a cold February evening.
3) I’m trying to eat less meat, but better quality meat when I do. Also to try and get as much value from that meat when we do buy it. So are there any good recipes for using cheap cuts of meat like beef shin or livers and that sort of thing.
At the same time flicking through recipe book after recipe book and having your mouth water at glossy pictures can make you more than a little ashamed and guilty.
Here you are indexing recipe books and thinking about how you’re going to try that cassis and blackcurrant recipe while millions and millions of people around the globe go to bed starving and malnourished. Here you are with all these options and ideas and others are trying to scrap a living from poor soil and land that suffers drought. So I’m trying to remind myself to be thankful for every thing in the cupboards, for water tapped in and energy for cooking at the flick of a switch.
I guess that all this indexing is an attempt to find out if I can eat in better ways than I have been doing, in a way that is more thankful for my daily bread and less destructive to creation. Am I cooking in a way that isn’t wasteful of energy? Can I get 3 meals out of a chicken instead of 2?
But at the same time to be able to cook well because I’d like to be able to cook well for hospitality in the future, especially for wherever we move to next or whatever happens there. Because I’ve heard a lot sermons about the Good News in my time but I’ve experienced the good news most around dinner and fellowship with friends. Which always reminds of Babette’s Feast.