Copyright Hugh Harris 1991.



Chapter 1 - Recipes

Chapter 2 The tools and some basic materials

Chapter 3 what foods do

Chapter 4 Cooking techniques and process

Chapter 5 Lists and templates

Chapter 6 Reader's notes.


This book is because I can't cook. I am a designer by profession, and I design and make things for a living, and teach. The things I usually design and make are things like bookshops and libraries, and pieces of free standing furniture, wooden toys, and graphics. So, when confronted by a design brief that says, in essence, "we want something to eat. The materials available to make it from are X, Y, Z, T, and P I try to devise the best I can from this combination.

Like many people who make things, I find it very difficult to work from someone else's working drawings, and quite often my own working drawings, but very easy to work from my own sketches. Likewise, I find it very difficult to work from a recipe. In fact, I might go as far as to say it is impossible for me to work from a recipe.

My sketches tell me what I want the article to look like, what it does, what dimensions are critical, and suggest the materials I might use from those I have available. I then commence, almost as though thrown in from the deep end, and in due course out comes the finshed article. The culinary equivalent to a sketch I find easy. It is a list of ingredicats and a few notes about techniques, and if I were going to use any instructions at all this is what I would use. Having a very limited knowledge of the techniques available I have come up with my own results.

I am suggesting that you should do the same thing. For instance, if all you have available is salt, one potato, three carrots, a spoonful of marg and some mixed herbs, that is all you have available, and it is In fact quite easy to see that with the addition of water you can produce potato and carrot soup. I would try something like this:

Fry the carrots in the marge. Cut the potato small and put it in the pan with the carrots, sprinkle a little salt on and fry for a bit. Add water and stir. Keep on the heat. Taste it. Try a bit of herb added and cook a bit more. Eat. It would probably be quite nice if I don't add too much water.

Don't feel you have to have the right ingredients. In my approach the ones you've got are by definition the right ingredients if you miss out the ones that do not fit. Just cook all or any except those that you think will not do, or which you wish to save for some other use. For instance, in my experience fennel doesn' t work with fish. Most things, however, will work together.

So what this manual sets out to do is to suggest to you the tools you might use, the cooking possibilities and the things that might be added to change or add flavour.

It also lists a few soups that I have made. They`re usually made out of those things which will no longer keep, and that is the reason for cooking them. Thus, of course, we have soup more often in the summer than the winter.

The young son of a friend of mine is into cooking. He is very good at it. He is, however, so uneconomical in his preparation that when he cooks lunch I am usually able to make soup enough for several meals out of the peelings and offcuts, so there will be one or two soups that have originated from this source. I haven't yet taken to going to the market after they close and picking up the veg in the street, but cannot see why this should not be done as long as it is properly cleaned before use.

This book also has 'templates' or 'forms' for you to fill in on the basis of your own experiments and experience. They list various processes, various utensils, various ingredients and so on, so that they may be used as a checklist at any point in the process at which a sample tasting has proved unsatisfactory (or, for that matter, satisfactory). For instance, I find it very easy to forget salt (which doesn't necessarily matter), so that I could check the list and be reminded to consider it is an ingredient if the tasting was not right.

The rest will just take you through the processes I went through to arrive at my final results. Most of the soups are vegetarian, because we are vegetarian most of the time in this house.

At the very end, there are empty pages for you to write your own additional recipes into. I suggest you write the recipes after you have cooked and eaten the soup, to avoid the danger of writing a revolting recipe without knowing it.