Monday, June 25, 2012

Three cookbooks for old ladies

Recently three great cookbooks crossed my desk, each totally different in their appeal. 
I've tried to identify how far my response depends on my great age, and whether I'd have enjoyed them all regardless. But that's impossible, because (like you) I am at least three different people in the kitchen.
Inside this city writer/businesswoman lurks a classic suburban housewife, the one who used to grow artichokes and tarragon and strawberries, and preserve quince jelly, sauerkraut and 60 jars of tomatoes every year. OK, I've moved on, although I still preserve olives from our street and eat micro-goodies from a micro-garden. 

And indeed, rural-woman syndrome is part of the psyche of thousands of other women my age, which partly explains why A Good Harvest: Recipes from the gardens of Rural Women New Zealand is proving so popular. It gives a true picture of rural women's cooking now and a nostalgic glimpse of a time when we all made raspberry jam, zucchini fritters and pickled gherkins from scratch. Awesome book, this will come into its own after the apocalypse. Meanwhile, just love it.

Cookbook number two is One Pot, One Bowl, from Kim McCosker's 4-ingredients series. The appeal is to the flat-out, no-nonsense experienced cook, which is also me and maybe you. I turn my nose up at recipes that include cans of soup or packet soups (or both) for flavouring. But I celebrate the brilliant concept that produces dish after dish with just four items, for example Blue Cheese Pork with Pears, or Leek and Potato Soup. All Come Dine With Me contestants should be given this book: no more cheese in the curry.

My daughters pounced on Pipi The Cookbook the moment it arrived, which shows this is not a book for oldies. However, we old ladies happily drool over Brian Culy's delicious photos, mouthwatering recipes by Alexandra Tylee, and story of a family-friendly family business. Then we might take a long drive to eat at Pipi restaurant, soaking up the Pipi culture but leaving Pipi cuisine to the experts. 

A Good Harvest (Random House)
One Pot One Bowl (Simon Schuster)
Pipi: the cookbook (Random House)

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