cooking the books

I love to cook.  It’s not just about the process of creating a meal it is also about feeding and providing succour to others.  It is about service, it is about love.

I could do with shifting a few pounds.  Actually if I am going to Turkey with three teenage daughters and meeting up with my sister in law and her two gorgeous daughters and I don’t want to wear a burka I will need to shift something akin to the lower reaches of Mount Everest.  In the pursuit of the summer body (which according to Singer 1 is earned in winter – a bit of a cheek from a lithe size 6 -8) I have been following the 5:2 diet.  It suits me perfectly.  My Protestant background approves of a spot of fast and denial and my Catholic background looks forward to healthy feasting on the other days.

Tuesday was a fast day.  This was supper.


Not bad for 240 calories, a slice of fish and some chilli and ginger?  It’s not about the ingredients but what you do with them.  Not unlike writing.  We all have the same words but not all of us can produce A Sense of an Ending or The Poisonwood Bible.

As I cooked, and listened to the news I thought of all the people I have cooked for:

  • My family – my first ever roast dinner aged 9, preceded by jam tarts, mince and onions, stovies and once and never again, tripe.
  • My friends – endless variations of Bolognese and chocolate fudge during my sixth form years.  Graduated to curries and slow cookers in my university years.
  • People I admired for their courage and their humility in letting me feed them –  Soup kitchens
  • My children – purees, boobs and bottles
  • My animals – post operative scrambled egg.

Cooking is not unlike writing.  Only you can make it.  My mother and I have the same recipe for baked beans but the results taste completely different.  Cooking and writing are also labours of love.  Special occasions aside, my family expect a meal every night.  They thank me for it (I dragged them up well, they clear the table and help wash up too) but they would be perturbed and somewhat put out if there was nothing.

People I have written for:

  • My teachers – all those weekends doing my creative writing for Monday morning English lessons.
  • My father – who loved to read anything I wrote and is still my biggest fan.
  • My children – written and oral stories, in the tradition of my grandmother, in that they are the heroines and the stories go on for years.
  • Me – there are so many stories I want to set free.  When I am asked where my inspiration comes from I am always slightly taken aback.  My problem is to stop the inspiration, the ideas.  I cannot keep up

So I cook and I write and I hope that both are appreciated.


3 responses to “cooking the books

  1. This was my favorite line: It’s not about the ingredients but what you do with them. Not unlike writing. We all have the same words but not all of us can produce A Sense of an Ending or The Poisonwood Bible.
    So true!!

  2. Gillie, fabulous post, you know how I feel about cooking. It is about how you use flavours to create taste, I think i’ll stop before I start being so evangelical that you block me 🙂 xx

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