In 2004, the Branston Pickle factory in Suffolk burned down. There was such a panic about running out of Branston Pickle, that the company posted the recipe online for folks so they could make their own. This is not to say that recipes for pickle didn’t abound, but the company’s particular version of Branston was, well, perceived by many as the most precious.
So in January of this year, a customer and I were talking about this and she mentioned she has her own recipe for Branston pickle (which she shared with me, plus a jar of the stuff, which was DELICIOUS!). I had been thinking for some time about putting together a cook book of our customers’ best recipes and so now, well, this seems like a grand time to get at it, don’t you think?
Here’s what I’m planning. It’s a cookbook of the Best and the Worst of British cooking. I want to include the Worst, because Ali, one of our Bramble gals, has a cookbook from her grandmother and it includes one stew recipe that calls for the lamb to be “boiled until the colour is grey…” which is indicative of, indeed, the worst sort of cooking. As someone who loves reading recipes almost as much as I enjoy trying new food ideas, I think it would be great fun to include our best ideas and some of the more horrible ones as well.
SO! Yes. Send us your best and your worst. The best recipes are – obviously – for sharing, and the worst recipes are for our amusement.
Currently, I have the original Branston pickle recipe, as well as Lorne Sausage (square slice!), Scottish Trifle, and Scottish Dumplings. Once we start receiving submissions we’ll begin sorting everything into a book of some sort. I’ll be honest. I’ve never put a cookbook together before, but I have read many. Kyrie and Ali have read more than that. We do know a lot about British food, and with your brilliant input I am certain this will be a lovely book. Our plan is to make it available around Christmas, so it would be grand if we had recipes for Christmas puddings and such.
When you send us your recipes, please follow these basic guidelines:
1. You may send us as many recipes as you like, but do keep in mind we won’t be able to use every recipe, as I expect there will be many duplicate versions. To that end, I’m afraid you’re at our mercy, ha ha. We have several Expert Foodies on the Bramble House staff, and we will, for the most part, be relying on our own best opinions for choosing which recipes make the book. If your recipes aren’t all included, it isn’t personal: but it is a fairly subjective process, so that’s just something for which we’ll have to apologize in advance.
2. Please include your full name and contact information (a phone number, an active email address). We will be in touch regarding permissions for publications and all those pesky legal aspects of book publishing.
3. Once we have selected the recipes we want to include, we will be testing them out to see if they are easily replicated, and for taking photos. Keep in mind that testing recipes means following the instructions PRECISELY AS WRITTEN. We can’t start improvising or modifying the recipes; we have to see if they turn out based on the exact recipe. I mention this because many times people have shared recipes with me, and omitted parts, like “a pinch of salt” because that “seems obvious.” Assume nothing. If the recipe doesn’t call for salt, we won’t add it. Recipes missing key instructions (such as oven temperatures, or specific cooking times) will be discarded.
Here’s a lovely example of a recipe that would be impossible to replicate but is nevertheless wonderful to read:
“…PLAIN AND EASY…” it says.
So start digging out your best and, if you have one, your worst. I will keep us all updated here on our progress as we go. And keep in mind we’re looking for the Best and Worst of British Cooking, so no Chinese Stir-Fry!
Aren’t you excited now?! Me too!
You can email your recipes to us at email@example.com. Please include RECIPES in the subject line, and thanks, in advance for participating.