I was gutted that I didn’t have the nerve to get up on the platform and tell everyone there about my first cookbook and how it probably was where my love of cooking first began. But then it occurred to me that I could just as easily tell everyone about my first cookbook from the comfort of my very own blog!
This is my first ever cookbook…just look at those…erm “graphics”!….
…well, I say mine but it actually belonged to my sister who was given it as a Christmas present in 1980 by a lady called Eileen. At some point ownership passed to me as I had scrawled inside the front cover that the book was now the property of Katy Giles, in all my backward-facing-letters handwriting. I’ve come a long way in the past six months!
I have some very distinct memories associated with cooking and spending time in the family kitchen, and none more so than the memory of my sister walking me through the recipe for making “Fruit Jelly” (buy jelly, add hot water and tinned fruit; leave by an open window to cool and set….woah, difficult or what?!) or disparing at my lack of knife skills which meant that I always made a complete hash of taking the tops off of the small sponge cakes that would be transformed into Fairy Cakes – my sister doing it perfectly every time, but then she is six years older than me! Or the feeling of utter accomplishment at making my first ever Spanish Omelette and it tasty pretty darn tootin’ – even though today I would make sure it had generous amounts of picante chorizo, lashings of fresh flat leaf parsley and topped off with manchego cheese – none of which were readily available in 1980’s south Bristol!
As soon I returned home from litfest, I took my lovely book from the book shelf and rummaged through the pages and as I did so I was struck by just how many distant memories came flooding back. All books have the power to evoke nostlagic memories but to me, no book genre is more evocative than a cookbook and the memories it can attach to food; a place or time. I also noticed that on re-reading the recipes most of them sound god awful now and I wouldn’t ever be making them again; but that doesn’t mean that I will ever be letting go of this book! Instead I shall place it proudly back on its shelf nestled in amongst the other really rather grown up and serious cookbooks. It made me think that my “My Fun to Cook Book” is quite a lot like me really: quite silly but nestled all in amongst the grown ups!
Before I leave you to ponder your own first / worst / favourite cookbooks and the memories that will come with, I will share with you the most used recipe of all (judging by the condition of the pages): Fruit Jelly….