“A satisfied soul loathes the honeycomb, but to a hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.”
Book of Proverbs 27:7
There is nothing quite as nourishing, as culturally defining, as joyous in its plenty and devastating in its absence, as food. Our love for this simple necessity goes far beyond a human need for sustenance. We long for the clatter of pans, the patter of stove-side conversation and the chatter of the table, all ending, of course, in a delicious plate of food.
For centuries we’ve packaged up this joy in the form of recipes. Born of need or greed, these notes tell the story of cooks past and tastes born. Never just a list of ingredients, recipes offer one of the most fascinating insights into our collective past and, in the case of our favourites, a thread of continuity for the future.
I’ve always been fascinated by the history of food, and not just because I’m a gluttonous Anthropology of Food MA student with a History degree. Ever since I started this blog all the way back in 2009, I’ve written recipes alongside a story – the two rarely align, but it’s still always felt important to include both. Food is, after all, a constant in our lives – it is witness to deep dinner table conversations and a crutch in moments of emotional despair. Sometimes it takes the form of a quick snack, or other times a full-blown feast, but it’s always there. No wonder then, that a recipe offers such an honest insight into our world.
To The Table celebrates the special place these recipes have in our lives. Whether it be a memory of shepherd’s pie at the childhood table, or our first encounter with gelato on a holiday to Italy, every recipe comes with a story.
By exploring the history and memories surrounding our favourite dishes, I hope to bring them to life – to make you want to go and cook something that satisfies not just the stomach, but the soul.
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