Thursday, 28 April 2011

On food snobbery

I just wanted to carve out a moment to address this subject before resuming normal service. You will (hopefully) have noticed that I major on everyday ingredients on this blog. It is not my goal to have you swing by the deli, or some specialist shop to buy a bag of something, which you will use once and then never touch again.

That's one thing. But let me get something else perfectly clear, here. I'm no paragon, okay? I don't produce magnificent dishes from scratch, using only fresh ingredients every day of every week. Obviously I recognise that it is better to do so, and I do try to go that route as much as possible. But, at any given moment, you will find in my fridge jars of 'very lazy' minced ginger, chilli and lemon grass. There may also be a jar of tom yum paste, and Thai red/green/yellow curry paste. All ready-mixed. I have on stand-by in my cupboard a few vacuum packed 'cook in' sauces of the sort where you just add the meat.

...and I am not above slinging a frozen pizza in the oven on one of those days when there simply isn't time to do anything else, but everybody's gotta eat. Fortunately, those days are fairly rare at the moment, but I have done two stints of studying, and the acknowledgements page of my Masters' dissertation includes these words "to our two sons, Björn and Torvald who have patiently eaten far too many ready meals..."

I am not a professional chef, nor am I a nutritionist. While I try to provide a largely healthy diet for my family, I am not a health nut... and I have sons, for goodness' sake. Teenage sons!

I am just like you: I have a life. I have a job to do, hobbies to pursue, kids to raise and ferry from one activity to another, a spouse with whom I would like to spend time, a dog to walk, chores to complete and errands to run. I know that 'real' people can't spend all day preparing a meal. I also know that, on the occasions when I do take all day preparing a meal, it is eaten just as quickly as if I had nuked it in the microwave (oh yes, I have a microwave... and I use it). And the things that I throw together at the last minute are often enjoyed more than those long-winded things, anyway.

So yes, I may have shared a recipe that will enable you to knit your own granola, but there will be no elitism here. In this space (and in the conversations that appear on Facebook), there will be no food snobbery. I seek only to share with you the recipes that I use in the hope that you will find them helpful, interesting and - above all - tasty.


  1. Karyn, my husband and I have fairly sophisticated palates and know our way around fine restaurants. But we both prefer good food over haughty or overpriced, fussy dishes. I think one of the best things about this blog -- and what separates it from many other cookery magazines and sites -- is your focus on "real world" cooking, accessible to those of us with busy lives and little time to work and rework a new dish. You also share recipes that you have tested and tweaked, so I can be confident that they will work when I try them. I am likewise tired of complicated recipes with poor payoff, and even more tired of buying large jars of an expensive spice or sauce in order to get just a teaspoon for a recipe. Even better: Your recipes from your childhood and present life in England often suggest something new for your American readers. Keep up the good work!


  2. Thanks for your kind words and encouragement, Jane. I share many of your attitudes towards food, and towards many of the resources that are available. It's good to know I'm not alone, and that I'm in the right ballpark.