You can trust them more than a cook book.
This morning in Big W, I noticed Michelle Bridges has released a new cook book and wondered: are Cook books are the most contemporary thing on the planet? Someone releases a new one every week. Is Michelle’s one any good? I don’t know. She’s a bloody good personal personal trainer, I know that but her pan fried haddock with chinese slaw recipe would be a gamble…
My mum and my sister don’t really buy cook books, instead they cultivate folders of hand written recipes. For example, on a recent trip to the UK, they went out for coffee and cake at a cafe in Chelsea Gardens and returned with a recipe for ginger cake. They were so impressed by the cake they asked the chef for the recipe – which she kindly took the time to write out for them. Mum made it when she got back to Australia and I can confirm, it did not disappoint.
Mum’s friends loved the ginger cake too. She shared the recipe with them. They’ve been doing this for years as it turns out. None of them buy cook books from Big W, they just share pirated recipes with each other.
The handwritten recipe is the king of recipes because you know nobody would take the time to write out an entire recipe if it was rubbish and if there’s hardened chantilly cream or greasey spots on the page, all the better. Cook books can’t compete with this level of authenticity and love – the only exception being the Primary School Fundraiser cook book (which, ultimately, contains the equivalent of handwritten recipes anyway, it’s just that someone with Microsoft Word has just taken the time to type them up. No parent would risk their culinary reputation by contributing an untried recipe to such a publication).
According to Mum though, the main reason she prefers her bootleg handwritten recipe book to a published cook book is because all the recipes come from somewhere or someone in her life. ‘It’s like someone giving you a plant’ she says. ‘You always think of that person when you look at it. When I make Sandie’s Mum’s muffins, it always makes me think of Sandie’s mum and I like that’.
If Masterchef has taught us one thing, it’s that food can be nostalgic and that’s the competitive advantage of handwritten recipes.
Do you have your own folder of hand written recipes? Leave a comment below…