A rather battered old copy of Delia Smith’s Complete Cookery Course occupies pride of place on one of the two small shelves reserved for recipe books in our kitchen.
It’s become legendary in our house, not because of its huge contribution to the family’s mealtimes, but because of the quality of two of its recipes – Delia’s Christmas cake has joined us for our festive celebrations for many years and her minestrone soup is a favourite tummy filling fall-back.
So will we miss Delia now she’s decided not to make any more TV series? Probably not.
She’s wrong to knock the idea that cookery programmes should be entertaining – surely that’s the best way to get people interested in food, rather than lecturing them.
Both my daughters are good cooks and can prepare healthy, tasty meals, thanks largely to the inspiration of Jamie, the Hairy Bikers, Rick Stein, James Martin and their (entertaining) like. The Great British Bake Off, though not a traditional cookery programme, has reignited an interest in baking – as demonstrated by our own reporter Emma Lake’s involvement in the Great Suffolk Bake Off. Is there anything better than a slice of homemade cake?
In the office, we have a number of foodies. In addition to baker Emma, carnivorous reporter Andrew needs no encouragement to wax lyrical about meat (though I’m not sure if this extends to horse), and editor Barry dabbles in the kitchen, often returning from his lunch hour loaded down with ingredients for his next creation.
But cookery programmes are wasted on me – I have fairly simple tastes when it comes to food and, though happy to try new things, I’m not fond of over-complicated dishes. And please, hands off! I don’t want the chef’s grubby mitts on my grub once it’s cooked – not even to create a culinary work of art.
If, for some reason our meal times don’t coincide, my wife will prepare herself a proper meal – she’s happy to take the time to create something. On the other hand, I just want to eat, the sooner the better, so it’s toast for me – beans on toast, cheese on toast or, if I’m feeling adventurous, egg on toast. And even I don’t need Delia for that.