Home-cooked History

Home-made mincemeat

With my post for yesterday’s Postaday un-remarkably absent, I’m going to slide straight into today’s prompt, which is…

“Automation has made it possible to produce so many objects — from bread to shoes — without the intervention of human hands (assuming that pressing a button doesn’t count). What things do you still prefer in their traditional, handmade version?”

Hmmmm, what do I prefer in its traditional, handmade version?

Food! Food, glorious food! There are so many foods out there that to me just taste so much better when they’re handmade.

Pies, cakes, ice cream, jams, chutneys pickles, bread, sausages, the sorts of food that you would find at a craft or country fair.

To me, there is something instantly appealing about jam jars with little paper caps held on by elastic bands, and pies with asymmetric pie crusts and the filling bursting out the sides. All of those creative imperfections only hint at what is most important, the taste.

One of the most defining characteristics of homemade/craft/country food is not that it tastes nice necessarily, of course it all does, but it’s the combinations of flavours that are put together. You’ll be browsing through the stalls and there’ll be so many interesting food combinations that you wonder how anything could think would go together. Once you have tried that bacon and leek pie, or beetroot and cucumber chutney you wonder how you got through your life without tasting it before.

I think, there’s a part in everyone that longs for this type of food; Food which brings back memories of Sunday Dinners as a child, or the endless amounts of wine and jam being made by your grandparents. This is certainly true for me, one of the few people of the planet who has tried potato wine, which incidentally tastes nothing like vodka, but is surprisingly nice. From what I remember it could have melted the outside of a spaceship, but still very nice. Then there were all of the Cup o’ tea cakes, dead-eye buns, and a specialty of my Grandma, the bran bun. A bun which had all of the nutrition of bran none of that pesky nice tasting sweet stuff that makes you want to eat a bun.

There may not be a big difference between a recipe your Gran used to make, and a TV chef’s recipe, except that one is part of your family history and the other isn’t. My granddad’s potent, liver-destroying wine was a joke that is intrinsically woven into my family history, as were the hundreds of jars of jam made by my grandma that were handed round to the entire family over the year.

In today’s age of mass production and cheap off-the-shelf foods, do children today still have access to the homemade way of cooking that I had? Are children going to grown up not having that element of family history? Maybe with the revival of cooking and baking that seems to be going on, that there will be more home cooked foods as part of that family history. It will be interesting to see.

What d’ya think…?


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