I think, perhaps, that the nice people at Gill & MacMillan must have known that my (blog) birthday – which came and went on Friday – was approaching. In the past month, they have sent me not one – and, no, not two – but three newly published cookbooks. Honestly, if they keep this up, they’ll need to send new bookshelves along the next time, and maybe a bigger kitchen too (I am nothing if not an optimist in that regard).
The truth, of course, is that the enjoyment of a new cookbook doesn’t warrant an upgrade to kitchen accommodations as much as it does the availability of a good armchair from which to peruse and plan, followed by a willingness to try something even just a little bit different from your usual fare.
My newly acquired books, written by three lovely Irish ladies, have provided plenty to browse through, and make me wish that I could spend more time cooking than has seemed to happen of late. And if the kindling of the desire to head kitchen-ward is the first, and most essential test of good cookbook, then – before an apron has been donned or an onion chopped – these books have passed with flying colours.
A stylish Catherine Fulvio looking all Audrey-Hepburn-like
on the cover of Eat like an Italian
I open Eat Like an Italian at a random page. I find a recipe for broad bean and Pecorino salad on one side and sorrel flan on the other. That’s it, I’m sold. No two ways about it.
My desk is all a-clutter. Assorted items clamour for my frequently divided attention, and, lately, suffer from varying degrees of neglect.
Over there, my review copy of Domini Kemp’s new book, Itsa Cookbook, languishes. Frankly I got distracted when I read therein that her granny cooked potatoes in a pressure cooker, and have been more interested by the idea of emulating that than by anything else in the book (though I can safely say that fans of Domini’s Saturday columns in The Irish Times will be pleased to know that they can now get themselves a bookful of same).
Also sent to me lately, a glossary of delightfully named Scottish delicacies. The name alone makes me want to try Cullen Skink, a soup of smoked haddock, mashed potato and onions, though desire and execution are proving, as often happens, to be two very different things.
Other bits and pieces, such as reminders of upcoming food events, like the Food and Wine Christmas Show in the RDS from November 26th to 28th, as well as a slew of potato-related news stories, crowd my inbox.
But none of that and, I repeat, none of that is terribly important compared to Foodcamp.
Well, would you mess with this man?
That man is Pat Conway, butchery lecturer at GMIT, and he showed the collected masses of Irish food bloggers a thing or two about butchering pork last Thursday.
Hang on there just a minute says you. Masses of Irish food bloggers?