I’m not sure when cooking and eating for pleasure first came to be but I can say that most of my childhood memories revolve around food. Buying, eating, sharing and discovering. To me food and people are inextricably linked and there is no better way to spend time with someone than to share a meal.
I was born in London but grew up in Sussex. Our parents were cosmopolitan but chose a country upbringing for their 4 girls! As for many people of the 80’s, freedoms were abundant. I’m certain my parents rarely knew where to find us, only that we would be back to eat! Country living meant farm shops and farmers markets. Picking windfalls and hedgerow foraging. Fruit and veg came in a sack and very little was enshrined in plastic back then. We had a physical relationship with food and where it was from.
As for eating, the weekday were fairly traditional. Cottage pie, shepherd’s pie etc but at weekend’s thing went up several notches. My parents loved to host long lunches with friends down from London and extravagant dinner parties to be enjoyed by us the following morning. I can still taste my mum’s homemade pâté wrapped in smoked bacon or a salad of beansprouts, carrot and peanuts that wouldn’t look out of place today.
Often at weekends, my Godmother would arrive from London, laden with a rib of beef, boxes of fruit but not an apple in sight. She would also often bring me something deemed inappropriate to wear such as jeans with zips on the side or patent shoes and something to eat that we’d never seen before. I recall my first bagel long before they were something you could get in the supermarket and trying French fries with soured cream. Could there be anything more sophisticated I’d thought! If this was London I wanted a piece of it.
My university choice was decided entirely up my desire to live in big, exciting London and experience all the excitement for myself and so it was. There I stayed for fourteen years, cultivating my knowledge eating and the London food scene until moving to Oz in 2007, opening up a whole other world. To this day the heady scent of Soho, where fried garlic meets traffic fumes, evokes a feeling of nostalgia for some very happy memories of my childhood, visiting my Godmother off the Charring Cross. If I had to say, I guess this is where it all began!