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    « Lunch – a global smorgasbord | Main | Secret snob #13: Burgon & Ball »
    Tuesday
    Jun182013

    How to be middle class: keeping a recipe journal  

    One of my most precious possessions is my recipe journal, which my mum gave me when I left for university. To start it off, she wrote in a few family favourites which would make me think of home, plus some basic student cooking ideas; over the years it has become a diary not just of my cooking experiences but of my life, sort of, and the people in it. It is, of course, eminently pragmatic to store your favourite recipes in one place so you don’t forget them or have to remember which book they came from – but it’s also lovely. A culinary collage. 

    These are the essential, somewhat inevitable contents of a lovely middle class recipe journal – which will be naturally built up over several years. No shortcuts, please! 

    1. A few recipes copied out from celebrity cookbooks In my book there’s a recipe for spicy chicken which I’m fairly sure was by Gary Rhodes, and a Nigella salmon curry (scribbled down by my friend Rosie who cooked it for us at uni once), among others. (I think there’s some Delia in there but she’s hiding in recipes that have become trusty family favourites [see point 4].)
    2. Recipes written in by friends I’ve got a kedgeree recipe from Rosie (passed down from her mum), and a ‘chilli pot pie’ introduced by an American ex-boyfriend. It’s nice if you get the person to write the recipe in the book in their own handwriting, and even note down the date they first cooked it for you. 
    3.  Miscellaneous from TV shows and websites, eg. BBC Good Food These are likely to be print-outs stuffed in between pages of your book. You probably haven’t actually attempted these recipes yet, but they are all part of your culinary career. 
    4. Comforting, trusty family favourite Could be something as simple as ‘mum’s best ever shepherd’s pie’. I’ve got ‘cheese soufflé – guaranteed’ written in by my dad. (It was originally Delia, I think, but he’s cooked this so many times and found his own way with it, to the extent that it’s hard to tell where Delia ends and Dad begins. I imagine this is the case in many families.) I’ve also got ‘shortbread – the only recipe!’ provided by my mum. The main reason these are ‘guaranteed’, ‘best ever’ or ‘the only’ is because they are trusted and familiar within our family. Extra points if your family recipes have in-jokes in the names or descriptions. 

     

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