My father’s side of the family is full of chefs and cooks, with my grandfather cooking during the golden age of British Rail, and my aunt having catered to the Queen Mother when she visited St Andrews. So cooking has been a big part of my childhood and growing up. I remember skipping sports classes regularly to sit in my aunt’s kitchen and break hundreds of eggs into a huge metal mixing bowl.
As a teenager, my group of friends would hold regular dinner parties, each of us preparing a course and setting it all up properly with my mum’s best antique china and silverware. It was always great fun taking all day to prepare everything and the kitchen always looking like a cyclone had hit it after we were done, always filled with drama of things not turning out as expected. I remember one incident when I was supposed to do the chocolate cake for dessert. Now, having watched too many cooking shows, I knew the important thing was to have the best ingredients. So, fully ignoring the recipe, I had spent a fortune on the darkest, finest, cocoarich chocolate from an artisan, extra-thick double cream, free-range duck eggs, and farm-made butter.
Now, while this seemed like a good plan, and truly the cake batter was amazing, after baking, the end product was so dense that we had to get my dad’s chisel to break bits off to nibble. I learned my lesson on the difference between expensive and good ingredients.
— The writer is Academic Coordinator, KM Music Conservatory