I make no claims to being a professional chef, or even a gifted amateur cook. Nor am I a gourmand seeking out the finest food, craving organic, free range, seasonal and local delicacies. But I do enjoy cooking, I find cooking from scratch to be relaxing and rewarding. I am largely self-taught apart from the modest range of techniques my mother taught me.
Why commonplace? – #1
Sadly only in my dreams do I spend my days in a state of the art kitchen, experimenting or whipping up de luxe dinner parties for eight. Actually like most I go out the house every morning to earn an honest crust. Nor do I earn that living as chef, cook, food critic, farmer, butcher or grocer or any of the other many ways that might impede the impartiality of this blog.
My link to food is my simple pleasure in cooking. For preference whenever possible I start from scratch. So while I have not yet graduated to homemade pesto or sieving tomatoes to make a passata I do strive to make as much as possible for myself. Does it taste better, if I am honest – not always! But the practising and experimentation is part of the pleasure, cooking is hard work but also a calming relaxing pleasure.
Why commonplace? – #2
Commonplace books were a thing across Europe for 300-400 years from the early 1400s. In an age before google people had to learn facts, and do their best to try and remember things. Even with Gutenberg’s printing press (1450) printed encyclopaedia were rare and expensive. To help that learning they wrote lots of things down.
The commonplace (book) is pretty much just that, somewhere you would write down bits of knowledge you wanted to remember, weights and measures, recipes, flavours, medicinal herbs, foodie poems. Whatever you want to remember, learn or record. Those with even modest artistic talents would add drawings, sketches and link it all up. Take a look at the sketch/notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci.
Now we blend WordPress, Pinterest, Facebook, Flickr and a host of other self-publishing opportunities into a modern day commonplace. These are mine.