Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Shit Cooking is Hereditary

Doris and I visited my mum this evening, to investigate her lack of Internet. I fixed it, and gave her some tactics for using against SKY, the next time it fails (tomorrow, perhaps). We had a nice chat, in the process of which we  spoke about cookistry, and this blog.

I showed my mum a random entry here. It was my "Cabbage Sandwich" one. My mum said "you didn't like lettuce when you were young. You would eat cabbage because it was cooked. Of course, cabbage was never stored in the fridge". Aha! I found a head of brassica in the fridge, so therefore it MUST have been lettuce! I am vindicated! :D

We also spoke about my most recent blog entry, "Gravy Stock". When I said that I hadn't known that gravy and stock are different things, my mum said "yes they are". This needed investigation ...

Mum spoke about her mother, who would add water to meat juices and serve that as gravy. This is how Mum learned what constitutes gravy. She also spoke about her mother-in-law, who would make gravy that Mum didn't like. Apparently, this was made by mixing water with Gravy Browning. I had no idea what "Gravy Browning" is, but Doris came to the rescue ...

Gravy Browning is supposed to be added to a lard-based gravy. Lard-based gravy has no colour. To make it more appetizing, you add Gravy Browning to change the colour to something that looks "gravy-coloured".

So, I have one grandmother would would make gravy by adding gravy browning to water, and another grandmother who would make gravy by adding meat juices to water. My Mum makes much better gravy, by adding stock cubes to water. It seems that my exploits in the kitchen are maintaining a family tradition of being crap in the kitchen!

I now have an excuse. I will try not to use it very often, but in the back of my mind, whenever I have a cookery disaster in the future, I will be thinking "but this rubbish is STILL better than my forebears' efforts!"


  1. Oh.... my GAWD. *having serious must-fix urges*

  2. Hereditary? I was about to go off on your ass, but then I realised hereditary does not equal genetic inheritance. So what you are saying makes perfect sense, in that you can't cook worth a damn because your mom can't cook worth a damn, and she can't cook worth a damn because her mother taught her a slew of bad habits.

    So the TL;DR version is that your bad cooking isn't just due to ignorance but also that you were taught a bunch of crappy cooking.

    Your kitchen skills are soooo screwed. :D

  3. Fnordius, I should say that I enjoy my mother's cooking very much, especially the special way she makes roast potatoes, and I have spent time making sure I can replicate the scrumbly bits that she's able to generate!

    There was little scope for TV-less people in the 40s and 50s to learn cooking techniques. In the UK, recipes provided were typically geared towards cooking something edible from rationed substances. My mother learned how to cook in these times, so it's not really surprising that what we find appetizing is starting to differ from past experiences.

    There's still no excuse for me to not be able to cook, I suppose, but there is a valid reason for why I started with such a lack of expertise.

  4. My mother learned to cook in the same generation, Poki, so that is no excuse! :)

  5. Megan, did your mother learn to cook in the UK, during wartime rationing?

    One WEEKS rations:
    3 pints of milk
    3 1/4Ib - 1Ib meat
    1 egg or 1 packet of dried eggs every 2 months
    3-4 oz cheese
    4 oz bacon and ham
    2 oz tea
    8 oz sugar
    2 oz butter
    2 oz cooking fat


    It didn't really lend itself to fancy cookery if most of your average recipe ingredients represented several weeks worth of rationing...