Thursday, July 31, 2008

What's cooking?

It all started when I had to walk past Borders to get to the hairdresser's (I now have icy steely blue streaks in my hair). I can't walk past a bookstore without going in, and can't go inside a bookstore without buying anything.

I picked up Nigel Slater's Eating For England because it had pretty rock candy on the cover. I browsed through it and it's all thumbnail write-ups on British food icons. From food that I was happily introduced to when I lived in the UK (Branston pickle, Penguins, Flake, Jaffa cakes, treacle tart, PG Tips) to stuff that I can't understand why anyone would eat (faggots and gravy, tripe and onions, haggis and neeps) to treats of my childhood (Quality Street, Ribena, Jacobs cream crackers, chocolate Digestives, KitKat -- complete with instructions on the proper ritual of eating it -- Toblerone, Bassetts jelly babies). He only missed Mr Whippy, I think. I was quite struck that a lot of my childhood sweet treat memories were all British. I wonder why that is so.

I fairly devoured the book and had to get more. I went to the library yesterday in search of more Slater. I thought he only wrote cookbooks so I had never been interested before. I enjoy cooking but I'm not really a cookbook person. Well, the library only had one of his cookbooks and not the biography that he wrote, which was what I was looking for. The food shelf had only cookbooks but tucked in among them were a few food-related volumes. People who wrote about becoming chefs, food and society, food and culture, that sort of thing. I figured it would be like Kitchen Confidential, only minus the sex, drugs, rock 'n' roll. So I took out all of them.

The trouble with reading food-related books is that it makes you a bit nibblish. So I made a batch of peanut butter cookies. I'm not sure whether I'll finish the cookies first or the books. I'll try not to get crumbs on the pages.

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