It started with one notebook (the one right at the bottom of the pile in the image above). In school, I did Food Tech (or Home Science as it was called then) for a short while. At the time, I was more interested in the eating of food than the cooking of it. It was my Mum that loved some of the recipes I was taught and, at the end of the academic year, asked me to keep the notebook.
In the meantime, as I inched deeper into my teenage years, I got hungrier & would often need to fix myself a snack. I occasionally made things that I thought were so clever (but in retrospect, really weren’t) and because I couldn’t do the World the injustice of losing such genius recipes, wrote them down in my notebook. What I couldn’t have imagined then is that this nibbling and the subsequent scribbling would grow into a habit that I was to sustain for years.
Over the years, I have built up a motley collection of these part-diary, part-recipes notebooks (currently on #16). Open one and you are just as likely to come across an account of what I cooked on a particular day as you are to gaze upon my children’s scribbles and drawings. There are descriptions of food I cooked, ate and bought; culinary experiments that worked and those that didn’t; numerous trials until a recipe was just as I wanted it; recipes invented, borrowed and pondered upon; my opinions; To Do lists; funny things my children said or did and other random musings. On the surface, it may seem like I just used these notebooks to jot down anything and everything but contrary to appearances, I only write in there things that matter a great deal to me. There’s a method to my madness, people!
These notebooks aren’t the prettiest – in fact, within them they contain pages with splatters, stains, scribblings in the margins that make sense only to me (& sometimes not even to me), corners bitten off by a teething toddler or two – and that is precisely why they are my most cherished possessions. Reading them feels like time travel to me – I am instantly transported to that particular phase in my life when I was the same as now, yet different. That younger version of me who I now want to thank for recording the minutiae of normal, regular days because, after all, how we live our days is how we live our lives.