When I first picked up this book I thought I’d probably just read the recipes and ignore the stories in between. How wrong I was. Once I started reading I couldn’t stop. Daisy has a funny and engaging writing style and her love of cooking shines through.
She begins the book by telling us how she began cooking. She didn’t start until she was in her thirties and didn’t even know how to roast a chicken. Then she found herself in a sailboat in the middle of the Atlantic with a few guys whose time was taken up with sailing work, and somehow she found that her job was to be the cooking.
“….I stared at the chicken on our first night at sea. It had string wound round it. Was I supposed to put it in the oven in its bondage or should it be released? … I’d seen other people put a chicken in the oven and it come out an hour or so later brown and glistening. I knew it needed some butter or oil somewhere and I knew it couldn’t be pink when it came time to eat it.”
The book is full of anecdotal gems like this and reminds me very much of the time I started cooking. My first real attempt at cooking something from scratch was a lasagne. I started at 11am in the morning and finished at 5pm in the afternoon. I was surrounded by pots and pans and made many, many attempts to make the white sauce. It was awful to make and tasted awful too. I think that’s why I still tend to be anxious and fearful when I make a lasagne. I did, however, come across a wonderful lasagne recipe in Daisy’s book that doesn’t require a white sauce. She uses mozzarella and it’s delicious
There are lots of wonderful cooking tips in the book, such as adding basil leaves to flavour the oil when making a puttanesca sauce. So simple and easy but something I’d never thought of doing until I read it in her book. What a difference it makes to the puttanesca sauce!
If you enjoy reading books that are part recipes and part stories you’ll love this one, and if you don’t usually buy cookery books like this I urge you to read this one – you’ll be hooked and you’ll want to read others in the same genre. A fantastic read and I thoroughly recommend it.
Find it: Cooking Lessons – Daisy Garnett