Saturday, May 8, 2010

Cooking your own goose

Though cookbooks have all the information you need, take time to pick and choose!

Last Sunday my husband volunteered to buy some fruit. I was grateful. He came back almost two hours later with a huge Midlands bag – so he's obviously gone book shopping. I ignored the bag, because I am not interested in his kind of books. After a while he came and plonked a book down beside me, with a smile that was part smug and part seeking a pat on the back. It was a cookbook, an Indian classic, first published circa 1950, with contents like “a kadahi is a shallow vessel in which to stir-fry vegetables or deep-fru pooris”, “to make chapatis knead whole wheat flour with an adequate quantity of water and press with knuckles” and “temper pulses with a spoonful of ghee and some spices”.

Where's the place
I'm touched and thanked him - after all, how thoughtful and sensitive of him to buy me a cookbook. But I have many problems with this. One, he never cooks, so he doesn't know what to look for. Two, he obviously has no idea what my capabilities are, thence the definitions of kadahis and atta. Three, our bookshelves are creaking under the weight of too many books – the children have commandeered two entire cupboards, departed, and left the shelves full of Irvine Welsh and Haruki Murakami. So where's the place? There are already piles teetering ominously on every flat surface, threatening to come crashing down. Four, and this is the most important, may I have the satisfaction of browsing through I bookshop and choosing what I like? Or must I have what he thinks I should like? There's a history.

Full report here Hindu

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