Bitch on the Blog

December 30, 2013


Filed under: Books,Food,Human condition — bitchontheblog @ 07:13

If I were a chicken I’d die this minute. Of some awful disease which would make no one but on one wish to throw me into the stock pot. Brillat-Savarin (him of an inflated ego) says “Poultry is for the cook what canvas is for the painter”. Let’s leave aside that the statement is vacuous at best – as empty as that canvas at worst.

Yes, you have guessed right. I am in despair. And it’s only seven in the morning. Best antidote to which is to declutter not least what can only be called obscene: My collection of cookery books. It goes into hundreds and that’s only those I have bought or been given by those who let me cook for them. If I’d bought all others that have taken my fancy over the years I’d be sleeping under the sky (books needing to be kept dry). Yes, such is the extent of my current Titanic. I am fond of the Titanic. It set off full of hope and then hit the tip of an iceberg. Since I live just round the corner from its Southampton shipping office water has seeped into my hull.

Where were we: Books.  It’s one of the hall marks of getting older (or when surrounded by those who insist of dying on you whilst you are trying to do your best to enjoy life) that I can’t stand  being reminded of that which – in truth – will now have never a chance to flash in my pan.

There comes a time in life when you know the best way to deal with the canvas aka chicken. And for that you will – no longer – need the recipe.




  1. No wonder you’re in despair if you are driven to your computer at seven in the morning.

    As for cookery books – of which I too have many and have been given a further one for Christmas – they are fine when you start cooking life’s broth, chicken or otherwise; but, being long in the tooth myself, I need no further instructions, and/or have long lost the ability to savour many of the finished dishes.

    Guten Rutsch!

    Comment by friko — December 30, 2013 @ 08:22 | Reply

    • Good to know that someone understands me. And has presence of mind.

      As to ‘long in the tooth’: I don’t like it. Have taken to watching my gums like a hawk. Not obsessing. Just watching. This was mainly brought on by two friends: One who told me years ago that the only reason he hangs on to the remnants of his thinning locks because earlobes tend to follow the call of gravity; the other – a newer acquisition – that noses do a Pinocchio in advancing years. Considering that I was gifted with a fairly long nose at birth it’s a good job I am not given to lying.

      Guten Rutsch to you too, Friko. Try not make it a banana skin – or black ice. Since I don’t wish to end the year on a tasteless note I won’t mention that I am awaiting Schumacher’s doctors’ health billet (forecast for 10 GMT this morning).


      Comment by bitchontheblog — December 30, 2013 @ 08:49 | Reply

  2. Don’t despair. Act. Discard them forthwith. I did mine. If I forget how to make something that I want to I simply search in the internet, find the recipe and adapt it to my way of cooking the dish.

    Comment by rummuser — December 30, 2013 @ 10:53 | Reply

    • Not easy to “discard”, Ramana. Not least because some of my cookery books annotated. Documenting not only my ‘journey’ as a cook but my guests’ likes and dislikes. Successes and flops.

      The books I am getting shot off (easily) are those which don’t even have one splash of oil, butter or tomato on them. By another word: Clearly uninspiring. Food porn. For the eye. Not for consumption.


      Comment by bitchontheblog — January 1, 2014 @ 02:51 | Reply

  3. The first cookbok I bougth myself was Good Things y…darn I forget her name but she had a cook daughter… anyway…It’s well worn…Ah! She comes back to me…Jane Grigson……. LIke Elizabeth David it’s good read……. we have shelves full of cookbooks and I could not dispose of any of them… they’re books and thus have a value in being just that…… sentimental.
    I ike the chicken/canvas metaphor but it breaks down…… a painted canvas cannot really feed your body, which one need to do in order to that the well fed mind may flourish. I think that’s what I think.

    Ah well……. Happy New Year to you and yours.

    This: Guten Rutsch! greeting is useful it seems….. Google Translate gives me several uses…… Best Valentine being one.

    Comment by magpie11 — December 30, 2013 @ 17:02 | Reply

    • Magpie, Jane Grigson, a stalwart of any cook, and the divine David on my shelf. Did I fall in love with ED’s “An Omelette and a Glass of Wine”? Sure I did. Never mind the cooking. Her prose, if stern, to die for.


      Comment by bitchontheblog — January 1, 2014 @ 02:55 | Reply

  4. I gave up so many of mine back in the day when I moved here. I now work on adapting many of my recipes to my wood stove. And have created a cookbook of my own once I remembered my grandmother’s specials, a few of which have never seen print versions before. 🙂
    It seems I was making space in my brain along with my shelves.
    Bon appetit and stuff.

    Comment by wisewebwoman — December 30, 2013 @ 20:18 | Reply

  5. I got rid of my cookbooks. I don’t measure anything. No dish is the same twice.

    My husband just got a John Knowles book today from Ebay. John lived across the street from me, growing up. A Separate Peace won prizes all over the place.

    Comment by bikehikebabe66 — December 30, 2013 @ 22:41 | Reply

    • One of my very favourite books, BHB. I’ve read it two or three times. He captures atmosphere so well.:)

      Comment by wisewebwoman — January 1, 2014 @ 00:46 | Reply

      • Well Gee Whiz! Your comment makes me feel really good. 🙂

        Comment by bikehikebabe66 — January 1, 2014 @ 01:15 | Reply

  6. Don’t worry Andro is here,
    I will guide you through the
    Naughtier stages of baking
    but you have to be good, or
    I may have to spank you in
    my apron, noooooooooooo
    I will be wearing it, you will
    be taking notes and getting
    ready for the dessert…

    You do like it with chocolate
    don’t you? Well I do so that
    should be a brilliant lesson.

    We won’t be needing any measuring either, of
    the ingredients I meant, cheeky… Oh, you knew
    that already… Okay.

    Happy New Year 2014 My Sweet and Dar Friend

    Andro xxxx

    Comment by Gray Dawster — December 31, 2013 @ 00:38 | Reply

    • Andro, please don’t ruin the little reputation I have left. Just for the record: Make mine a truffle

      Happy New Year to you too. You even made it onto my list of things to do in 2014: Below you know who but still up in heaven.


      Comment by bitchontheblog — January 1, 2014 @ 02:59 | Reply

  7. DEAR too…

    Andro xxxx

    Comment by Gray Dawster — December 31, 2013 @ 00:39 | Reply

  8. Our cookbooks are limited to the vegetarian variety so a huge accumulation is less likely. Jenny loves cooking and I’m a hopeless cook so all the cookbooks are hers, and she limits them to half a dozen favourites with the best recipes. Any cookbook she hardly ever consults eventually goes in the bin.

    And as I’ve probably explained before, Jenny cooks but I do all the washing-up and most of the food-shopping, so she doesn’t feel at all put-upon.

    Comment by nick — December 31, 2013 @ 06:29 | Reply

    • Nick, what can I say? In a previous life I was a rabbit, still am by inclination. Other than that I will not only cook anything (other than rabbit) but eat most put in front of me (other than rabbit). To be continued….

      As a PS before my sign off as per my usual U: I do not understand ‘trade offs’ as you describe them. I will shop. I will cook. I’ll clear up after anyone. I never, as you put it, “feel put upon”. If I did I wouldn’t do IT, whatever “it” is.


      Any thoughts on Rocket?

      Comment by bitchontheblog — January 1, 2014 @ 03:10 | Reply

  9. Our home has complete bookshelves of cook books. What is most amusing to watch however is no matter how many different recipes are available for perusal there, my wife never starts without going online to look at even more possible ways to cook up a creation. A long way from my grandmother who cooked without any measuring devices at all…

    Comment by Phil — January 1, 2014 @ 14:45 | Reply

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