I love collecting cookery books. I collect glossy beautifully illustrated ones. Wordy academic ones and home-made, handwritten ones that contain scraps of paper with scribbled recipes, rough sketches and notes-to-self.
This may sound a little shallow but unless a cookery book has some kind of sentimental value, it’s the ‘look’ that first attracts me.
That’s what first drew me to the little red shoes on the dust jacket of Apples for Jam, Tessa Kiros’s book of recipes for life. I first spotted it on the bookshelf in one of my sisters’ kitchens. It was next to Nigel Slater’s classic, Real Food. It must have been 2007. I couldn’t put it down and from then on every time I visited my sister ‘B’ in her lovely little house in a pretty village in Surrey, I found myself pouring over the pages for a good half hour! Whilst she was conjuring up something delicious in the kitchen and her partner uncorking a bottle of wine for us
She must have noticed my passion for the book, and being her sweet self promised to buy me a copy for Christmas. I stopped reading hers, put away my cookery book envy along with the plan to treat myself to a copy, and looked forward to Christmas, and her gift.
Christmas came, along with my sister ‘B’ accompanied by a large book-shaped parcel beautifully gift-wrapped. I was overcome with excitement. But also surprise when I unwrapped the parcel because it contained Jamie at Home which is also a firm favourite and much loved, and used tome, that I will talk about in a later post, but it wasn’t Apples for Jam. Needless to say she realised her mistake and Christmas 2008 did not disappoint!
But now for confession time. Although Apples for Jam is probably the cookery book that I currently read the most and spend longer pouring over the lovely colour images than any other. But I have never actually made any of the recipes from it!!
What I like about Tessa’s book is that it evokes memories of happy family times. It has a kind of retro 60’s feel to the images with odd toys and childrens' drawings worthy of the fridge. It’s happy and jolly. Even the foods are colour-coded. It makes me think of sunny, childhood days as well as yummy food.....mmmm
I think that it was probably reading Tessa’s book with it's eclectic mixture of recipes reflecting her multi-cultural heritage that encouraged me to do the same, and share some of the Persian recipes that I’ve learned from my husbands family and friends as well as my own family favourites. A real mixture of East meets West.