• Gary Clarke

My Online Cookbook - Introduction


We live in the age of convenient cuisine where we can get anything we want at any time from the supermarket or online. But, something has been lost in our relationship to food. We no longer know the source of or preparation of what we eat - and we are worse off for it. To me, food is not just something you warm up at the end of a long day, it is something to be enjoyed with the family after a day or an hour of loving preparation. Everything we eat has a history, and all of today's popular dishes are still around because they survived the taste test of time.The recipe for shepherd’s pie has not changed much since the late 1700’s - you are experiencing the exact same flavours as those who lived through the the American and French revolutions . This is history in its purest form, history that should be preserved, shared and used to understand who we are today. . I can’t remember a time when I wasn't cooking - my earliest memories are of being in the kitchen and helping my Nan to cook. We’d never make anything complicated, just jam tarts, treacle sponge, curry, and bread sauce (a family favourite). I was in charge of the messy jobs and always got excited when it was time to mix butter into flour with my fingers for pastry. My Nan knew these recipes by heart and cooked from muscle memory, but sometimes when we chose to cook something new we went to an old, dilapidated book that sat in a stand on the kitchen top next to the biscuit tin. The pages were falling out, and the spine was showing, it was the oldest thing in my life at the time and I loved sitting on my Nan's knee as she carefully turned the pages and read to me. This book belonged to her great-grandmother, and it has been passed down from mother to daughter since then. It is our family recipe book and it holds within it, not just food, but memories; the history of my family through cookery. I have inherited a few things from my mother’s side of the family, thick hair, bad knees, and the soul of a storyteller. Each recipe in the book sits next to scribbled paragraphs that tell the story of how the recipe was found or developed. I loved hearing about the lives of people neither of us knew, and some that my Nan has vague memories of. It made me feel like I had a living connection to those whose lives were laid bare on the page: the good, the bad ,and every time the handwriting changed - grief of a life. Our cookbook is old and will fall apart soon. I want to preserve the stories of those whose lives I have experienced through pen strokes on crumbling pages. I want to show how important food is socially and historically, by sharing with you my families culinary journey. I am also going to be throwing in some recipes of my own to continue the story on into the future.

My hope is that you will be convinced to share your own recipes and stories with me and that we can start a conversation about food, and what it means to us.

#Cookbook #Introduction #NewProjects

13 views