Barnes on the virtue of recipe books

“Ah yes, your own recipe book. You will need some kind of small scrapbook or filing system for all those newspaper and magazine cuttings. Another word of advice: don’t stick them in until you’ve made the dish at least twice and know it has some chance of longevity. Such a cuttings book will, over the years, testify to the strange trajectory of your cooking. It will also bring back moments in the same way as a photograph album: I used to make that? And that really stodgy vegetable pie? And that thingy in filo pastry which use to make me so cross? And didn’t I cook this the night when … ? You will be surprised by how much emotional and psychological history you might be storing up when you innocently paste in a slightly stained newspaper clipping.”

Julian Barnes, The Pedant in the Kitchen, Atlantic, 2003.

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