Thoughts and Deeds in the Kitchen

The Recipe Collection
Appetizers Baked Goods Beef Condiments & Sauces
Desserts Lamb etc. Pasta & Noodles Pork
Poultry Seafood Soups Vegetables
Drinks Notes

Introductory Remarks of No Special Significance

I first learned that food could be something more than fuel when I was five years old. My mother hired a Mrs. Bell as our new cook at Laverockdale. The first meal Mrs. Bell prepared for us children was mince and mashed potatoes. I can still remember the taste of her mince, nearly 60 years later, the rich gravy with the small dice of carrots added just before the end, so they were still crunchy, and the whole dish smelling of thyme. Mother was horrified; the woman had used herbs in the children's food. Alas, Mrs. Bell did not last very long, but she had seduced me. I spent many hours in the kitchen with Mrs. Bell's successors, pestering them about their craft, until my father deduced from my developing working class accent that I was spending too much time with the servants and sent me off to boarding school to have it beaten out of me.

Alas, as a small boy, I really didn't learn very much from all the time I spent in the kitchen, and cooking was not considered a proper subject of study for young gentlemen. However, I was so dissatisfied with boarding school food, that I began my own culinary experiments as soon as I could.

With no one to guide me, it was slow going, with many failures, but I made gradual progress, and, by the time I left university, I could feed myself and others with general satisfaction and the occasional triumph.

I am no great chef, but a decent home cook. These pages are supposed to supply the grounding I lacked, to cover all the information I wish I had had when I was young. They include most of the recipes I prepare at home every day, with the reasons why I do things a particular way. They are not supposed to provide infomation already available in such masterly works as "The Joy of Cooking," a book that belongs on a shelf in every kitchen, but my thinking, for whatever it may be worth.

Certain idiosyncracies may be worthy of mention:

All that said, there is no substitute for your own experience in the kitchen. If you like to eat good food, and you want to provide it for yourself and yours, get at least one good knife, learn how to keep it sharp, and just do it.