A few days ago, Wesley Stace, a superbly talented musician and novelist, lent me his copy of "The Pedant in the Kitchen" by Julian Barnes. I've been enjoying Barnes' wry and amusing account of becoming "a late-onset cook" all week.
Barnes came to the kitchen as an adult ("And as with sex, politics, and religion, so with cooking; by the time I began finding out about it for myself, it was too late to ask my parents"), and he's staunchly opinionated about everything from how to read a recipe (carefully) to the number of cookbooks one should own (the answer, according to him, is both "not enough" and "too many").
I was interested to hear his take on how recipes are handed down from one generation to another. "In the old days the transmission would have been oral and matrilineal. Then it became written and increasingly patriarchal. Nowadays we can be taught by either sex and the method may be oral (the TV chef), written (the cookbook) or both at the same time (the TV tie-in cookbook)." He goes on to say, "I remain a text-based cook and am broadly suspicious of those persuaded to inflate their personalities in front of the camera."
Barnes doesn't make any mention of cooks who like to blog, so there's no way to know what he would say about this: I've been "nominated to the Top 25 Daddy Blogs list on Circle of Moms." You can vote for me here. And as in the Chicago of legend, you can vote early and often, apparently once a day. Just don't tell Julian Barnes.