I once bought a book at a butchers. It was a very wonderful butchers’ shop called Randall & Aubin which has now become an equally wonderful fish restaurant called Randall & Aubin, and is to be found in Brewer St. It had the look and the atmosphere of a truly French establishment, down to the wooden guichet where purchases were completed, and I became a regular customer. The fare on offer was of a range and quality that was unique in London at that time. One day, whilst wandering wide eyed around the shop, I spotted, between jars of goose fat and trays of quails’ eggs, a spiral bound book. The book was the size of a large note book with a brown cardboard cover overprinted with black, graphics of food related images surmounted by the title, in red text, “Je mange bien tous les Jours”. Those simple words resonated with me and the next moment saw me completing my transaction at the fabled wooden guichet. The author was Laurence Mery-Clark, who confesses that she was not a cookery writer, but a professional feature film editor. In addition to being a film editor, she was also an avid collector of cookery books and a French woman who could cook extremely well. In those days before self publishing was a run of the mill affair, she produced this wonderful little book which has sat on my book shelves next to “French Provincial Cooking” by Elizabeth David, which is like winning an Oscar in my view. She had the simple ethic that working long, long hours should not prevent one from buying, cooking and eating good food at the end of a long, long day. She says “…..walking from the front door straight to the kitchen to cook the dinner actually relaxes me and helps me to unwind.” Good produce is a critical ingredient of good cooking and Laurence makes it clear that shopping was much easier when she was working in Soho, with its excellent markets, fishmongers and Italian delis than when she was working in the back of beyond at Shepperton Studios. My guess is that finding good food is not a Herculean task for the readers of this post. Laurence states, in the introduction to the book, that her main principle is not to have two standards of cooking. The same care is taken in her every day cooking as is taken when she has friends for dinner. Her other principle is not to waste anything. These principles are the keystones to good cooking, which I have tried to follow myself. The book is divided into 12 weeks of daily menus, with emphasis on the use of leftovers. I plan to publish a selection of the weekly menus, together with the recipes, at intervals over the coming months. I hope they give you as much pleasure as they have given me, and I would urge you to try to get hold of a copy of this well crafted book for your own shelves.
About Food,Photography & FrancePhotographer and film maker living in France. After a long career in London, my wife and I have settled in the Vendee, where we run residential digital photography courses with a strong gastronomic flavour.
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