Photo by Ron Lach on

Thanksgiving is coming up this weekend. I’m in a bit of a dither about the menu as I am hosting our family supper together. We’re all contributing but I still get into a lather. I am not great at ‘putting something on’. I am not a great cook but I’m not a terrible cook either. I tend to cook by whim – throw everything into a wok and stir the hell out of it. I seldom cook by recipes, not that I lack cookbooks. I have a whole drawful.

I have a whole collection of Company’s Coming, a collection of simple cooking started by Jean Pare in 1981. I haven’t looked at them since about that time. Those are not my oldest. I still have Joy of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker. I’m not sure how old is but it cost only $1.95. It’s a paperback. The pages are yellowed and the print is mighty small. I have one book from Breast Friends. I’ve used a few recipes for cookies once or twice. Then there’s the Milleton Hall Cook Book, a book of recipes from members of the farming community near where I grew up. I have yet to use it. I could go on and on with my list but my latest acquistion is Jamie Oliver’s Comfort Food a Christmas present a few years ago.

It’s a beautiful book. I want to make those fabulous dishes but then I read the ingredients and instructions. I wonder if anyone goes beyond looking at the beautiful photos. I brought it out a few days ago, thinking I could find something to make for our Thanksgiving table. Jamie Oliver does not make a simple anything. There’s herbs and spices I’ve never heard of. There’s sauces, cheeses and a ton of other stuff. Nothing for potatoes. I went online and found a recipe for scalloped potatoes with ingredients I do have. Not by Jamie Oliver but good enough. Then I searched for a curried squash recipe and behold, one by Jamie! It’s called Pumpkin, chickpea & coconut curry. It looks do-able and I have most of the ingredients. I will make these 2 recipes tomorrow for Sunday. It will give me time to make something else if I fail. I think I shall try one recipe a month from his Comfort Food book to improve my cooking skills as well as my brain. I like to challenge myself.


  1. I doubt that you’re a terrible cook! You just need a little guidance and what better way to get that than from a cookbook written by Jamie Oliver himself? His recipes may seem daunting at first, but I’m sure you can handle it. And even if you don’t quite succeed in making everything exactly as written, the effort will still be appreciated by your family and friends. So go ahead and give it a try – I have no doubt that you’ll be able to make some amazing dishes with Jamie Oliver’s help!

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