Home Cooking 2020

4 thoughts on “Home Cooking 2020

  1. 15 May 2020
    to Suzanne Wynn

    Thank you for your piece on home cooking which I read with much enjoyment and head-nodding.
    Like you, I gain as much satisfaction from designing a meal around leftovers, or making larger quantities which will then become the basis of the next.
    As example; this week we had lamb curry from the trusty slow cooker, and the surplus rice was used to stuff peppers – a vegetarian meal with cheese topping which was last night’s supper dish. Our weekly meal plan includes at least one non-meat meal, in addition to the Monday night favourite “Spanish Omelette” – a most excellent way to use up whatever is in the fridge, while ensuring we also have another egg-based and almost meatless meal. Fish features on Fridays (a relic from my Catholic upbringing)
    You mention seasonal cooking. My well-thumbed copy from the 1980s was The Times Calendar Cookbook by a certain Mary Stewart. Recipes were laid out month by month with guidance making use of the freezer for sesonal gluts. Yes, we have lost this aspect to our meals now that so much food is produced around the world and shipped to us here. A seasonal veg box from Riverford delivered fortnightly, together with informative notes from the growers keeps me on track with the seasons as well as regular visits to the market stall in Bishop’s Stortford where I live.
    I would like to include a plea for making full use of the microwave oven; that invaluable device often relegated to the task of heating takeway meals or re-heating coffee. But it can do so much more!
    I cook with it daily for vegetables, rice and many other dishes. Lump-free sauces are guaranteed and my latest version of lemon curd (thanks to Felicity Gloak’s recipe in The Guardian newspaper) is done with the aid of this remarkable device, saving time and effort yet producing first-class results. For some reason which I have yet to fathom. celebrity chefs ignore the time-saving and very creditable results it provides.
    To mark VE Day last week, I revisited the social history in the period 1939-45. How grateful those hard-pressed homemakers would have been for the use of a microwave oven! Its forerunner, the Hay Box system, was a cruder way to provide a warm appetizing meal without the technology we take for granted today.
    Born in late 1954, I have never known those privations and hardships, but do recall when the freezer was just a compartment for ice cubes or a small block of ice-cream in a very small domestic ‘fridge. Cooking was on a gas or electric stove, with at best a pressure cooker to speed cooking times. Bottling and preserving were necessary skills then and I still enjoy making jams, chutneys and in season, marmalade, from the bounty of the countryside and the seasonal arrival of items such as Seville oranges.


    1. Thank you for your comments on my article Jane. You clearly have sound rhythms to your cooking!
      The Times Calendar Cookbook is actually by Katie Stewart, now sadly deceased, and she was a big influence on my cooking too, especially the baking.
      I’m sorry I don’t ever include microwave instructions for my recipes. I experimented a little bit with microwaves when they were new as we had one in the office (they took out the much loved and used cooker). Sadly, I never got on with it, although when I later taught cookery in people’s homes some did show me how much quicker they can be for things like melting chocolate. Please do write in whenever you spot something in a recipe of mine that could be better done in a microwave as it would be good to note it in the comments.

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