A Review by Jupiter Hadley
Often, cookbooks focus on complex recipes, brought together by experienced chefs to bring something that you’d need to follow to your bookshelf. Even those who really, really love cooking, however, have days where they don’t really want to cook. Good Grace’s: A Rainy Day Cookbook hones in on the idea of comfort cooking - simple recipes, simple instructions, a few ingredients - all trying to create meals that your grandparents would feed you. There is a general theme of the UK in this book, referring to different places in the UK throughout when talking about where different products come from.
Written during COVID-19, this cookbook takes a very simplistic approach to cooking with the idea that cooking doesn’t have to be complex, especially on ‘rainy days’ or days when you just don’t feel like cooking. Even the most basic of meals can brighten up those days, with minimum effort. These recipes don’t require fancy cuts or taking the time to process loads of ingredients.
Many of these recipes are set to feed one person or two if you both have small appetites, but they can be scaled up to larger meals and customised easily to make something better suited for whoever you are feeding. They are divided into sections that cover breakfasts, lunches, teas and desserts - depending on what exactly you are looking for.
Sandwiched between these various recipes, there is just a bunch of information on growing your own food, the origins of different plants and some small tips on where they best place in food. Many of these different ingredients are covered in a sort of quick fire way, giving key information, while other staples like tomatoes, onions and rubarbs are given a deep dive which includes history, use in cooking, growing conditions and so much more. It’s not only a recipe book for a rainy day but Good Grace’s is also a book full of knowledge, good for reading on a rainy day.
The idea behind the book is to teach people that the ingredients that we use for many simple recipes can be grown in our own backyard, despite being exported and coming from other countries. We live in a world where we can easily gain access to resources that allow ourselves to be self-sustaining, and spending some time learning about where many of these products come from and how they can grow in our climate, is sometimes an eye-opener for many individuals. If you are interested in growing berries or potatoes, there are suggestions on the best place to start and what sort of season you should go for, which is a very valuable resource when it comes to wanting to do a bit more than just cooking.
I found that the simple approach to recipes adds a lot of inspiration for people who love to cook but sometimes find themselves unsure of what they want to do. The effort to start is minimal, but you can add your own twists and change up whatever you are cooking subtly in order to make something within the range you want to work in.
I often find myself having to reduce recipes, especially during this period of lockdown, to fit with just one or two and there are rarely recipes that cater to that need - so it’s great to have a cookbook to go to that makes cooking for less people so much easier.