my anarchic kitchen

George in front of a selection of cook booksBeyond my home life with my family, my two loves in life are food and politics. My professional life is politics and advising on professional communications; and much of my home life revolves around the dinner table with family and friends. Over the years I have taught myself to cook, had some great inspiration from family and friends, read hundreds of cook books and hopefully taken much of what I have learnt in. But for me there has always been a problem. I have never liked rules, they box me in, they take away the fun and creativity from most activities, and none more so than when cooking. Worse than that, however, the way we cook today is about religiously following recipes. It is about measuring ingredients exactly, not using initiative. We abuse our cooking skills by treating a recipe like a school chemistry lesson – the true bane of cooking are the digital scales where we measure everything right down to the last gram. Now I recognise that with three michelin stars you may want absolute precision, but for the rest of us we should actually learn to cook. But truly, how many of us can?

If our scales were removed today, could we make a cake, prepare pastry, even just make a pancake? I am not convinced we could. That means we haven’t really learnt anything, we just treat our approach to cooking like we are lemmings jumping off a cliff. Well I want more. Our US counterparts use the cup system, not digital scales. That teaches them the approximate amounts and that is all we need. We need approximately the right amounts of great ingredients and then we can truly learn to cook. That is why I chose the anarchic kitchen. Thinking about cooking in a new way, learning and freeing ourselves to become better, imaginative, creative and talented home cooks. I don’t want to be a professional chef (even if I was capable and that is a separate question), because that is about repetition and achieving the same great results with consistency time and time again. For the vast majority of brilliant professional chefs, it is rarely a creative process; that is left to us, to be free with our skills to create, fantastic flavours and new dishes. Hopefully, this blog will go someway to adding to our knowledge, showing we are at the forefront of the kitchen revolution, so please try the recipes and provide feedback and comments, but most of all enjoy it.


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