Mum bought me the book after I admired the copy she had purchased for herself - one of many recipe books that she treated herself to last year. The funny thing is that despite having an enviable collection of recipe books, she hardly ever cooks anything from them. She has her tried and tested recipes that she knows by heart and rarely deviates from them. More often these days, she lets my dad loose in the kitchen while she gets on with her latest knitting project or goes on her computer. Dad and recipes really don't mix.
So despite a wealth of ideas and inspiration at her fingertips, my mum's cooking repertoire remains small. She is very competent with what she does but feels no desire to get experimental.
The other odd thing about my mum's cooking, is her obssessive compulsion to have everything perfect. Biscuits must be regularly sized and shaped. Any that fail to meet her rigorous standards will be thrown in the bin (or given to dad to eat!). Choc chip cookies must each contain the same number and distribution of choc chips (she places them meticulously by hand to achieve this). I laugh about it with her but it really is very alien to me.
I love to cook. I especially love to try new things or tweak old recipes to give them a new twist. I do take a pride in the presentation but if it all goes wrong and looks like roadkill (which it often does), I am fine with it as long as everything is vaguely edible.
Recently I was reminded of a couple of old favourites of my mum when I came across a two hand written recipes. I remember her cooking these particular family favourites in the kitchen of the house I grew up in. I had a go at making them myself.
Although the recipes couldn't possibly have belonged to my mum as they were metric - grams is a swear word to my strictly pounds and ounces mother - the taste and cooking smells were very nostalgic.
Of course, if my mum had made them, the jam wouldn't have been so blobby and uneven and the sultanas may just have been a little more evenly distributed!