Sunday, 13 September 2015

I Follow A Recipe

My new year's resolution was to try out 12 new recipes in 2015.  I seemed to have got into a risotto-shaped rut, so on new year's eve, in the company of good friends, excellent steak and claret, I felt the urge to make a commitment to extending my range.  Unfortunately, this commitment was witnessed.

It's now September, and on the NRT scale of 0-12 that represents 'New Recipes Tried, I remained at 0NRT until Friday. I'm now at 2NRT.

A few Christmases ago, I was given 'Real Family Food' by Anthony Worrall Thompson.   Confused about whether this book is about real food or real families, I've barely made it past the front cover.

The one time I did venture into the book, I found Mr T's House Rules at the start.  These include: "No salt to be added to food at the table, except to chips", "Never walk past the fruit bowl without helping yourself to at least one piece of fruit", and "Your mother is not your servant".    He finishes with: "Always remember you can't change yesterday and you don't know what tomorrow will bring."  As rules go, AWT's seem eclectic and intimidating and I didn't make it past them to his recipes.  

The House Rules I was brought up with were the Ten Commandments Plus Non-Optional Middle Class Socially Determined Table Manners.  We thanked God for our food without taking his name in vain, without coveting our neighbour's slightly larger helping or planning to make a graven image out of our mashed potato.  We tried not to put our elbows on the table and never, ever licked our knives.

This weekend, in a bid to keep my resolution, I went back to 'Real Family Food' and skipped past the rule list.  I avoided all recipes with the words 'mini' (too fiddly) 'My' (no need to explain) and 'risotto' (pointless).  So on Friday evening I found myself making Sweet and Sour Sausages.  The word 'Sausage' guarantees my sons' approval.  Anything which requires unsalted butter and cider vinegar must be heading towards sophistication.

An hour later, we sat down to sausages and mash with a topping of what can only be described as Tomato Ketchup Plus.

This morning, I tried again - was tempted into making Mary Berry's Sunday Best Chocolate Fudge Cake.  Although we haven't started it yet, it looks like all the other chocolate sponge cakes I've ever made.  It'll probably be eaten by sundown.

I have decided to award myself 10 bonus points on the scale retrospectively, for the ten varieties of risotto I have invented over the years.  I think this ability to be flexible about rules, to walk past the fruit bowl with nonchalance, and to go cheerfully round in culinary circles are some of the things that make us a real family.

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