Cooking the Books with Gilly Smith
Saghar Setareh: Pomegranates and Artichokes
This week, Gilly is with Iranian food writer and photographer, Saghar Setareh whose debut book Pomegranates & Artichokes is the story of two food cultures that share so much in common but which are worlds apart.
Saghar was born in Tehran and moved to Rome in 2007 to study at the Fine Art Academy. But by 2009 protests against the new regime broke out in all the major cities and led to what has become known as the Green Revolution or Persian Spring, and suddenly Saghar found herself unable to go home.
Gilly asks her about her dedication in the book to those who dare to live a life. to those who move ‘braving the seas and the mountains, the men and their borders’.
Head over to Gilly’s Substack as she takes Saghar’s orange rice cake to Claudia Roden whose legendary orange and almond cake is Saghar’s inspiration.
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3. Conor Spacey: Wasted35:18This week, Gilly is with Conor Spacey, chef, culinary director of Food Space Ireland and one of the movers and shakers behind the Chefs' Manifesto, a community of over 1000 chefs in 110 countries making real change in the world of foodHis book Wasted is packed with recipes for the kitchen waste we all have in our homes, and it’s ingenius. Check Gilly's Substack for a chocolate cake recipe made from stale bread!
2. Adriana Cavita: Cocina Mexicana28:01This week, Gilly is with Adriana Cavita, the brilliant Mexican chef and, now author of Cocina Mexicana, whose journey from her grandmother’s street food stall to top international restaurants like Pujol and El Bulli has brought the real flavours of Mexico to London. Have a listen to the resilience of this woman – she’s like a hurdler, jumping the barriers of gender, language, money and envy to open her own restaurant in London. She says that this book is for all the women of her home country, for women everywhere whose struggle can lead to such massive change in the world. Head over to Gilly's Substack for more from her guests in Extra Bites.
1. Petty Elliott: The Indonesian Table28:57This week, Gilly is with the Indonesian chef behind her last sell out supper club, Petty Elliott. Her book, The Indonesian Table is a seminal work on the food of this archipelagic state of 17000 islands. We might think we know the flavours of Bali, Java, maybe even Sumatra, but Minangkabau? Manado? Banda Island? Probably not.Petty brought Indonesian food to a hungry public for the first time 20 years ago as a food journalist and chef, and has been cooking for some of the most influential people in the world since. Gilly met her at the British Library to talk about her book, why she chose this most hallowed of literary venues and being a card carrying member of this very British institution.Check Gilly's Substack for Extra Bites of Petty and her Indonesian Table
5. Helen Rebanks: The Farmer's Wife31:01This week, in the last of this mini series on Matrescence, Gilly is with Helen Rebanks, farmer, businesswoman, teacher, conservationist and a working mother of four. She's also wife to Britain’s most famous farmer, James Rebanks whose phenomenal success with his books The Shepherd’s Life and English Pastoral (as featured on Cooking the Books), changed the way we look at farming. Now Helen tells the story of The Farmer’s Wife and looks at the values of an old fashioned way of life rooted in hard work and mothering her children on a farm in the Lake District.
4. Emiko Davies: Gohan32:37This week, Gilly is with Emiko Davies, the Australian born, half Japanese writer on Italian food who lives with her family in Florence to talk about Japan.Her book Gohan is the story of her childhood food, fed to her by her Japanese mother in Australia and by her grandparents in Japan. It's the Japanese word for rice, but it also means ‘family meal’ and for Emiko, the only word as the title for her latest book. As she explores who she is through her food, we learn how mothers can hold the key to a child's sense of self, and how complicated - and how simple - that can be.Click here for more information on Matrescence, and head over to Gilly's Substack to hear more from Emiko on Matrescence
3. Tara Wigley: How to Butter Toast37:58This week, in the third in a special series this summer on Matrescence, Gilly is with Tara Wigley, co-author of the award-winning Falastin, in-house writer of Team Ottolenghi, Yotam’s co-author on eight of the biggest food books, including the million-seller, Ottolenghi Simple.. and mother of teen twins and a tween.Her hilarious and often biting ditties on Instagram have won her a new audience which is interested more in her own voice; when she asked Gilly what she thought of an early idea of a book version, she knew it would be a shoo in. How to Butter Toast is a recipe book without recipes, a rhyming route through the how-tos of cooking, but as Gilly finds out, it's also about putting form to an often chaotic life at home!For more information on Matrescence, click here.And head to Gilly's Substack for Extra Bites.
2. Shivi Ramoutar: Cook Clever31:40This week, in the second in a special series on matrescence, Gilly is talking about morning telly, cook hacks and motherhood with TV chef, Shivi Ramoutar.Shivi is the Caribbean Queen of Morning TV. She’s the chef on Oti Mabuse’s Breakfast Show, she was the TV Chef on Garraway’s Good Stuff and cooked with the Kemps on Martin and Roman’s Weekend Best. She's a regular guest on BBC’s Saturday Kitchen, and ITV’s This Morning and has even appeared on Celebrity Mastermind. Her latest book Cook Clever is packed with cook hacks for her massive audience.And as a mother to 7 and 4-year-olds and a 9 month baby, she has plenty to say about matrescence. As we aim to explode the word into the national conversation to describe the process of mothering that really never stops, she tell us how's she's getting on. It’s estimated that perinatal mental health problems alone cost the NHS and social services around £1.2 billion annually, and Shivi is only too ready to share her journey so far. For more information on Matrescence, click here.
1. Chetna Makan: Chetna's Indian Feasts29:46This week, Gilly's at the home of award-winning recipe writer, author and YouTuber, one of Bake Off’s most celebrated winners and mother of 2, Chetna Makan to talk about her new book, Chetna’s Indian Feasts. But in this first episode of a special series this summer, we’re talking about food through the prism of matrescence, the raw ingredients which make up the heady mix of motherhood and provide the recipe for life. Like adolescence, matrescence shows us a picture of process, and with it an implicit understanding of what that means. Just as adolescents are always adults in training, so matrescents are mothers in training, and that never stops.The word was coined by anthropologist Dana Raphael in 1973 to describe the experience of half the global population but which is barely known, barely discussed, barely acknowledged. On the contrary, we’re supposed to know it all the minute we give birth. It’s estimated that perinatal mental health problems alone cost the NHS and social services around £1.2 billion annually. Imagine the impact on families and wider society of way post natal mental health issues – the massive lows that come with the roller coaster of emotions of motherhood – at all ages and stages.The aim of this Cooking the Books series is to introduce the word into the national conversation. Chetna is the first of four writers, mothers, matrescents who have much to say on the subject throughout the whole of August. For more information and where to get help, click here.Check Gilly's Substack each week for Extra Bites from each guest.And if you'd like support with your own matrescence, click here for information
34. Maria Bradford: Sweet Salone35:14This week, Gilly is with Maria Bradford, author of Sweet Salone, the first book to tell the story of the food from her homeland of Sierra Leone. Maria came to the UK as a student and grew up with her guardian in a village in Kent, far from the colourful food culture spreading through London’s West African communities. But it was her sense of being different that has led to her becoming the word on Sierra Leonian food. Here she goes back to find the food that it took a lifetime to realise was such a big part of her sense of self. Check Gilly's Substack for Maria's Extra Bites