Colour me surprised, but people are reading me blog. I have to laugh at myself here, (a little bit more than usual,) because when my lovely website chap initially suggested I start writing a “blog” I thought, “Oh LORD! Me and how many hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people, write blogs and who bloody reads ’em, right?”
That, as it turns out, is a brilliant question. But I’ll move on.
Well. Alright then. I’m an idiot sometimes. A LOT of people read a lot of different blogs, so I will shut up about that.
So, hang on then! There’s more!! … Photos and stuff! Read on!!…
Really: I spent some time re-reading past blogs and they are quite horrible, and sad, and crabby. And I have to reflect back on the post-Christmas gloom that hits retail every year, and fully consider the contexts of my writing in order to, basically, forgive myself for being so dreadfully boring and sad.
SO, NO LONGER BORING AND SAD!! Right? Bloody well right!
Now, I’m just giddy, but I can’t say why. Maybe it’s warmer weather, maybe it’s the recent changes to the shop, maybe it’s the waning menopause symptoms (DON’T FREAKING ASK!) or maybe it’s a combination of the three. I do believe that Bramble House is so damned impressive, really, all things considered; and I want to spend the rest of this year celebrating that. Let’s celebrate our brilliant parlour. I couldn’t be happier. A Lovely useless space in the shop. Yay!
So, anyway, The Best and Worst of British Cooking cookbook is a Real Thing, a celebration of our 12 years in business AND a proper cookbook. It’s not going to be some sort of lame little photocopied-and-stapled-pages-with-a-hand-drawn-cover-sort-of book, but a real proper bound book. And I want it to be for some sort of food-bank charity, so that all proceeds go to a place that needs food for folks who don’t have any.
I’m certain that “The Best and the Worst of British Cooking” is a grand way to celebrate the history of British food. Let’s face it, there’s a rich and highly misunderstood history of British cooking.
When we search online, for example, for the “worst” or British cooking we see recipes and blogs about Marmite and Haggis. Well! REALLY?? I mean, hardly even.
These aren’t actually the worst of British cooking at all, are they? Marmite? Alright, personally I wasn’t raised on that and so I do rather hate the taste. Nevertheless, Marmite has a fascinating history. I DO understand, very well, the passion for it. And I have heard from several customers that a teaspoon of Marmite turns a “meh” stew into an AMAZING stew. So, there!
Another online (Internet) example of the Worst of British cooking was Scotch Egg. What?? I’ve had Scotch Eggs several times and those are bloody lovely!!
Haggis?!? Please. We have the proper stuff (frozen) and the tinned stuff is bloody marvelous, isn’t it? I know! (Have you tried the tinned stuff on a bun? Gorgeous!)
So, you see our problem. What folks today think is the Worst is based on silly Internet-Think, which is, at the best of times, fairly weak.
We’ve seen hundreds of “Traditional” British cook books. We’ve seen thousand of magazines on British cooking (We sell these!… she said shamelessly. Alright, maybe not so shamelessly, but it was a plug of some sort, wasn’t it? Right then. Let it go. Let me do my job here.)
…and we’ve witnessed the changes in British tastes in our shop. I mean, we’ve been selling British food in Quebec for 12 years. We’ve learned a couple of things.
Nonetheless, really. We need your input. The BEST recipes are easy enough. But the worst? Now, that’s the beauty. Our Worst Yorkshire Recipe (here) doesn’t mention flour. Is that because this a recipe that doesn’t include flour? Or is it just a typo? Dig out your grandmother’s recipes. You know what we’re talking about.
Of course, as with any nation’s culinary history, the…erm… less-delicious recipes are nevertheless grounded in fascinating aspects of historical progress. For example, one recipe we have suggests one “boil the meat until the colour is grey…” and we have to recognize this as a reference to the risks of cooking dodgy meat, right? Meat-Before-Proper-Storage-Sort-Of-Cooking.
Folks could not get fresh food all of the time and when they could get it, they had to cook it, pickle it, and-or preserve it in some way. This went on for many centuries, actually, a blending of – effectively – deprivation cooking, and availability of fresh food. THIS, my friends, is a relevant history.
Rationing during war-times, as well, set certain standards for dealing with shortages of fresh food. British cooking is a brilliant history of resilience, really.
We should be celebrating that. Actually, that is precisely what I’d like to do with this book. So. Yes. This.