Shane Hegarty has written a piece in today’s Irish Times which you can, if you’re so inclined, read here.
but it did hint at a key point about the modern foodie industry, which is that its chief product isn’t delicious meals, artfully presented: it is waste
He’s talking in the context of waste of time buying cookbooks, waste of time taking pleasure in your cooking, waste of time in taking instagram photographs of your food, waste of paper in printing cook books which will never be used.
I think he’s wrong.
I own about 100 cookbooks. Pretty sure it’s in that zone because they were recently counted and this does not include myriad copies of Delicious, Donna Hay, Tesco and Superquinn magazines. I also have an A4 notebook into which I glue oddball stuff cut out of magazines, newspapers, the backs of ingredients containers and such like. All of it gives me very great pleasure even if I do not cook.
I’ve always taken the view that if it’s feeding yourself is all it’s about, then you really only need one cookbook, be that either Nigella Lawson’s first one – How to Eat, or, possibly better, one of the Good Housekeeping ones. But that’s really not what it’s all about. There is something beautiful about opening a cookbook, looking at the pictures, and considering whether you will cook this or that.
It’s a pleasure to read cookbooks; not just cook from them. And sometimes you will cook from them and get things right, or sometimes you might not. It is ultimately a voyage of discovery.
In that respect, you cannot possibly consider the acquisition of books – of any type – which give you pleasure as a waste. Effort in cooking, likewise, is not a waste.