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  • Writer's pictureLaura Jackson

Comfort in uncertain times & 3 books to read to calm the soul

I love a cook book that talks, now I haven't went completely insane just yet (that maybe not too far off) but hear me out. I love a cook book that has a narrator. I don't want to hear the practical advice given about how to chop or saute, I want a back story, I want to know why we cook what we do, what we've inherited through generations, why we changed a dish in a certain way and what made us do it or who, was it a mistake or a pantry shortage. who did we eat it with? alone standing at the kitchen sink or around the table with friends. I never tire of talking to my customers about food, what have you eaten, where did you eat it, how did you make it?

When you pick up a cook book, you want to eat with your eyes and feel so inspired to cook that you want to rush out and buy all the ingredients, even though by the time you've hunted down black garlic and alleppo pepper you are generally so exhausted that when you get home you slump into a chair and order a take away.

But then, every now and again, you find that one book that is a such a joy to read, it becomes a source of comfort to turn too in uncertain times, even though your not going to race to the kitchen to knock out some confection but merely reading some well written words warms you from within. Carrie Bradshaw once said that when she first moved to New York she used to buy Vogue instead of food as she felt it fed her more. I often feel that by reading cook books that i've fed myself better by just looking at pictures, reading the story behind the dish, how its prepared that I can often trick myself into thinking i've actually ate something really good instead of crisps and dip that I shovelled in my mouth after a very long day half dead on the sofa.

There are 3 books that I turn to when i need to seek solace and comfort in uncertain times, The Christmas Chronicles by Nigel Slater. A warm festive hug in book form. How to eat by Nigella Lawson, no pictures and I like a picture but her preamble has delighted me as Nigella refers to her freezer as looking like a sperm bank from all the frozen egg whites. And finally, Midnight Chicken by Ella Risbridger, I tried to describe this book to a friend the day after I read it and I failed miserably, its not an award winning culinary master piece in the recipe sense & I do not mean that as a slight, as it is one of the best books that i've read in a long time, its a story of survival and food as therapy. Her honesty astounded me and although I sobbed when I read it and not just little tears but heart- breaking, gut wrenching sobbing, I was reminded what we all say in our heads on any given day whether consciously or subconsciously. Keep going.

But one word of warning, read the book from start to finish, DO NOT skip ahead and when you are finished, read the acknowledgements at the back and please, please follow my advice, although I can't fully fathom why with my tiny brain, it all makes perfect sense.

Love you all X

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Jun 05, 2020

Nice blog, thank you. I, too, am a lover of cook books, particularly those I inherited from my mother, or old tomes found in second hand book shops and of course the newer publications. I'm in the middle of reading and trying out recipes from 'Life Kitchen' by Ryan Riley- young man whose mother, during her treatment for cancer, lost much of her joy in food, her ability to taste things properly and her interest in meals. She also lost her life. These recipes are wonderful and call for some things which aren't common in our store cupboard but I think will become so. I've tried out a few dishes and was totally blown away by them. Apart from th…

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