The dog-eared and much used, Good Housekeeping’s Children’s Cook Book.
Basic but necessary recipes…
Step by step how to make tea and coffee…
The formative recipe for my future culinary career.
I always comb my hair before I cook. Not.
I had a little record player like this in red, bought with my ‘National’ savings…16 pounds from Woolworths.
When I was four years old I had two revelatory experiences; the first was that I realised I was shit-hot at ‘colouring in’, leading to a love affair with the visual arts. The second was when our class got to make Chocolate Butterfly Cakes. I remember the feeling of joy and accomplishment at producing something so clever (cutting the top off and making it into ‘wings’) and delicious. I took my chocolate butterfly cake home to show my mum. The little cake was shared between the five in our family.
I developed an obsession with making cakes; getting up early before nursery school, to make mixes with flour, butter and sugar. This was halted rather rudely when I put the mix into a red plastic bowl which dripped all over the hot oven. I was told in no uncertain terms that I was no longer allowed to fly solo on the cake-making front.
I continued to cook as a child and as a teenager. From my Saturday job in WH Smiths I reserved a part of my wages to buy the million-part series cooking magazine ‘Supercook’. I made a Sunday lunch for the family, after three months into the subscription, from Supercook recipes; everything began with ‘C’: Cabbage, Chestnut stuffing, Chicken, Chocolate mousse.
Unfortunately my culinary education remained incomplete as, turning into a rebellious teenager, I just stopped turning up to my Saturday job, so I could only cook dishes up till the letter ‘R’.
It’s taken me a while to learn recipes from the rest of the alphabet. I really do need a copy of the Larousse Gastronomique.