My parents got married 30 years ago this August. One of their wedding presents at least has remained loved and cherished throughout all this time. It’s not the Country Roses china we use at Christmas, and I’ve only seen mum’s dress once... I’m talking about a cookery book.
Cooking has always been a huge part of my life. One of my earliest memories is coming downstairs on a Saturday morning where my dad would have a big mixing bowl on the floor—where I could reach and where it couldn’t fall any further—ready for me to “help” (read: hinder) him to make some cakes. Sometimes we’d have a cooked breakfast and I would be allowed to stand on a chair and scramble the eggs. These days, I cook for friends and family and I have all kinds of memories attached to certain dishes.
The reason I love Delia’s book so much isn’t just because of the book itself, though that’s a huge reason. You can see the stains on the pages with recipes for family favourites, and little notes or page markers when we found something we loved or changed it to suit everyone. It’s also the recipes: they are simple and traditional, and it’s clear that she’s taken time to find out what works and what doesn’t. She’s got everything you enjoyed making as a kid: fairy cakes, Victoria sponge, pancakes, pastry... simple but perfect.
Then there’s her lemon meringue pie, which I adore making for my family. It’s not the simplest of recipes, but she guides you through it in her straightforward encouraging prose. She never uses bullet points but rather writes as though telling a story.
I’ve managed to find a link to the online version of the recipe, but she’s got tonnes of books out too which are well worth the investment—this coming from the tightest girl in Ireland. Tightest in Ireland... somehow that means a lot. Anyway, the recipe is here and I can’t wait for some comments and emails about your culinary exploits!