It’s fun, it’s friendly, it’s practical, it’s a recipe-book in pictorial storyboard design with stories, for everyone who wants to know how everyday dishes are prepared in their land of origin. Some of the dishes will be familiar, others less so – but all are the everyday dishes we cook to remember who we are, the ones we carry with us, if only in memory, wherever we go. Ingredients might have to replaced, methods adapted, but the spirit remains. Each storyboard – which is really what these cartoons are – is accompanied by Elisabeth Luard’s own memories of when and where and with whom she gathered the recipe.
There are basic culinary processes – bread, polenta, steamed rice, tomato sauce, egg-custard – plus suggestions for related dishes using the mother-recipe, as well as over 60 international classics.
Elisabeth says of her selection ..
‘Personal experience dictated my choice. I learned how to salt salmon as they do in Norway from a farming family north of the Arctic Circle while researching my first cookbook, European Peasant Cookery. Chilli-spiked quesadillas were my favourite market-food when I was not yet married and working in Mexico City. A recipe for Boston Chowder was gathered during a memorable evening in the company of Julia Child when I was invited to address her group of Boston Culinary Historians. Florida crab cakes were the by-product of a visit to the Everglades with my sketchbook in search of alligators and overwintering spoonbills. The recipes are as authentic as personal experience can make them. Always remembering that there’s no such thing as absolute authenticity, no dish that can’t be improved by a pinch of this or a drop of that: everyone has their own way of doing things, nothing is set in stone – there’s the joy of cooking.’