Thursday, 19 April 2012

Cooking Price-Wise

Until I set eyes on this book I had no idea that legendary actor Vincent Price had also had his own cooking series during the 1970s.

In keeping perhaps with Price's horror persona, there are recipes for "Melon Monster" and "Cucumber Crocodile", and rather kitsch-sounding things like "Pineapple and Cheese loaf" and "Chicken Solange", whatever that is. But I mention this book not to make fun, but as a surprising and charming discovery about a famous actor who evidently didn't take himself too seriously and was genuinely interested in other cultures.

The blurb on the back invites the reader to "Travel round the world with Vincent Price - using your cooker instead of a jet plane". It's safe to say that Elizabeth David's mediterranean cookery discoveries of the 1950s took quite a while to trickle down to the plates and shops of Britain, but Price manages to encourage and educate readers to be more adventurous in a non-snobbish and accessible way: "You get the folks who think that foreign food is full of things that you can only get on special order from Harrods, and I must admit that the way some cookery books are written, you'd think that was so. So I was glad to accept the challenge when the producers of the series asked me to the shows. Their one condition was that all the ingredients in all the recipes must be readily available in just about any group of food shops or supermarket."

I think it's quite charming the way Price points out the limited nature of British tastes, at home and abroad. He notes that many people will eat spaghetti out of a tin but "the real thing, no matter how available it is, is quite beyond them"; he also reassures those "afraid of strange-sounding foods" that "basically the ingredients are the same, just put together in a different way." He also uses a 'Moroccan Tajine' recipe to gently poke fun at the silly prejudices of the British against international cultural practices: "The Moroccans, of course, eat their meals with their fingers...To those of you who think eating in this way is unhygienic, let me remind you that the Moroccans wash their hands very thoroughly before and after the meal, and that there are probably fewer germs on their fingers than are on the forks which come straight from a drawer, where they've been gathering dust, to the table and then to the mouth - you can imagine what sounds like to a Moroccan!"

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Thursday late lunch

Having been off work for the Easter holidays, I've developed a bit of an eggs benedict habit (see last post).

I wanted to celebrate the last of my sister's hen's eggs that I had in my possession and was going to have it soft boiled with toast. Then I accidentally cracked the egg in its box so - what a shame! - poached it was. And I just 'happened' to have some leftover english muffins. No bacon/ham, but a fry-up of chorizo, tomatoes and mushrooms on the side. Crappy ceramic electric hob tried to conspire against me again (taking the saucepan off boiling once the egg's in and then finding I've put it on a burner that's been on already so it starts boiling again) but I rescued it.

The final result was, of course, sublime.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Bank holiday breakfast

Double eggs benedict! Yes! Just about managed to rescue poached eggs from overcooking due to crappy electric hob, it was touch and go.

Birthday cake for a bird lover

Delivered and half consumed at the pub with a few beers, who needs tea?

TV Dinner

Dinner in front of the telly on Saturday: Mussels with leeks, bacon and cider, thanks Hugh F-W.