In this timely new book, Darina reconnects you with the cooking skills that missed a generation or two. The book is divided into chapters such as "Dairy," "Poultry and Eggs," "Bread," and "Preserving," and forgotten processes such as smoking mackerel, curing bacon, and making yogurt and butter are explained in the simplest terms. The delicious recipes show you how to use your homemade bounty to its best, and include ideas for using forgotten cuts of meat, baking bread and cakes, and even eating food from the wild. The "Vegetables and Herbs" chapter is stuffed with growing tips to satisfy even those with the smallest garden plot or window box, and there are plenty of suggestions for using gluts of vegetables. You'll even discover how to keep a few chickens in your backyard. With over 700 recipes, this is the definitive modern guide to traditional cooking skills.
"So many of our happiest childhood memories are connected to food. Picnics by the sea, afternoon tea with Granny, Mammy's lamb stew, or treacle pudding around the kitchen table. How many times have I heard, "I remember Aunt Margie used to make a wonderful apple pie. I wish I'd asked her for the recipe." So don't leave it until it's too late. Maybe even start a little booklet of favorite family recipes and add to it from time to time. It'll make a terrific and worthwhile present for your youngsters when they eventually leave home.
In the past 20-30 years, many people have concentrated on careers and a certain set of academic skills. The subliminal message coming through our educational system, and in many cases from parents as well, was that cooking and gardening were skills that one shouldn't be bothered with and would never need to know. But the path of life doesn't always run smoothly and so many confident young people who were riding the crest of a wave are suddenly forced to face the reality that they are virtually helpless in a changed situation. So part of the mission of this book is to urge parents and grandparents not to allow any more of our young people to leave home without the life skills they need, not only to survive, but also to enhance the quality of their lives. With oil supplies diminishing and energy prices rising, we are likely to need these skills even more in the future.
The other reason for writing this book was to provide a resource for the growing number of farmers and food producers with excellent raw materials who are interested in adding value to their produce. There is also a new generation whose interest in artisan food production has taken them to careers in small-scale cheese making, meat curing, or beer brewing. If we want to keep them alive, we need to support them too. I hope this book will be a valuable resource for them all."
Darina Allen runs the world-renowned cookery school at Ballymaloe in County Cork, Ireland, which she founded with her husband in 1983. She runs the highly regarded three-month diploma course as well as various short courses, including the Forgotten Skills series, which is the inspiration behind this book.
Darina is the award-winning author of Irish Traditional Cooking, Ballymaloe Cookery Course, A Year at Ballymaloe, Healthy Gluten-free Eating (with Rosemary Kearney), and Easy Entertaining. She is Ireland's most famous TV-cook, having presented nine series of her cooking program, "Simply Delicious," on television around the world. Darina founded the first Farmers' Markets in Ireland and is a tireless campaigner for local produce. She is a natural teacher and was awarded IACP's 2005 Cooking Teacher of the Year Award.