Launch Day -At Home in Cumbria – A Recipe Book

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‘At Home in Cumbria, A Recipe Book’, is written as a fundraiser for Hospice at Home Carlisle and North Lakeland who this year celebrate twenty years of caring for people with life limiting illnesses in their own homes.  Over 125 delicious recipes each inspired by the flavours of Cumbria and often using traditional ideas with a modern twist, ‘At Home in Cumbria’, celebrates Cumbrian food at its best.  In between the recipes are food stories from twenty Seven artisan and award wining Cumbrian food producers from the region.   

Food, prepared and offered thoughtfully, is symbolic of love when words are inadequate.

It’s a complicated business caring for people!  I thought about starting this introduction with the quote, ‘Food is symbolic of love when words are inadequate’ (Alan D. Wolfelt). But the more deeply I thought, the more complex the issue of food and caring became. Yes, cooking for people can convey, ‘I care about you’.  Yet plonking any old food in front of someone without care or attention to detail for their needs is not about love and caring, so I added the words ‘prepared and offered thoughtfully’.

Over the course of the year that I have spent researching and writing this book, three words emerged, Caring, Dedication and Nurturing. They encapsulate the work of everyone, paid and unpaid for Hospice at Home, to the food growers and producers who feature in these pages.  For volunteer fundraisers food was a central focus, I was welcomed to meetings with a warm drink and a proffered plate of homemade goodies. The care and thought that went into events was inspiring, the appropriateness of the food offered for each occasion was a top priority.

The twenty-seven food growers and producers that I met on my travels around the County cared deeply about the land understanding its connection to our food. Farmers caring for ‘marginal lands’, happily nurture the wild life and countryside. For others provenance, socially responsible and locally sourced ingredients was paramount.  Cumbria is a land of rolling hills, green pastures, great soils, rivers and estuaries. Food growing and production is at its heart, and good home cooking is still celebrated.

I have had a lifelong connection with the County, my Grandparents lived here, my family still farm here, and we care for land and rivers in the Eden Valley. Cumbria feels like my spiritual home – I am comforted by being surrounded by hills, and excited by the foods that live and grow here. I am moved by the dedication of the many small food businesses in the region, whose produce attract visitors, creating a taste of place that lives on in people’s minds long after they leave to go home.

At Home in Cumbria brings full circle my own journey. I began my working life as a nurse and worked in palliative care.  And I have always cooked – it’s my way to say I care. This interest led eventually to my second career as a cookery teacher, culminating in setting up and running a cookery school.  An MA in Food Anthropology sparked an interest in local food and food culture.

This book is a collection of recipes designed to be cooked at home for family and friends, using local produce. It opens with a chapter on Breakfasts because you can’t be in Cumbria and not eat a hearty breakfast of local foods – oats Cumberland Sausage and black pudding – not to mention fresh eggs, marmalade and bread.  There follow two main sections, each divided into smaller chapters. The first, Family Meals and Kitchen Suppers offers heart-warming easy to produce family favourites. Gathering with Friends is aimed at casual entertaining, tasty ideas for first courses, through to The Cheese Course, and sweet treats to enjoy with coffee.  Tea and Comfort is full of delicious treats to share, just because, or perhaps someone has popped by, needing your time and an ear, often the best gift that we can give.

The final chapter, Tasty Morsels for Smaller Appetites, gives ideas for supporting ill people at home.  Some of the recipes I developed to support my late sister in laws family when Sue was ill. She wanted small amounts of tasty, nourishing food and needed lots of encouragement to keep her fluid intake up.  Treatment regimens and diseases can affect appetites. Tastes may change and appetites diminish because of physical discomfort and pain, nausea or a sore mouth.  It’s a tough time for everyone, and for the carer particularly difficult where providing appropriate food is concerned.  Returned food and refusal to eat or drink can be a worry and its difficult not to feel personally offended or rejected.  The selection of small, nourishing and delicious morsels can be shared around a bed side – encouraging the sick person to still feel a part of the family, building memories that can be cherished. Perhaps all that’s wanted, or can be tolerated, is a little teaspoonful of something delicious and soothing, or perhaps not even that – just the company – that familiar feeling of being surrounded by people who care about you.

I sincerely hope that you will enjoy cooking from the book and that you will be inspired to seek out the local products and producers featured in the pages.  To support Hospice at Home Carlisle and North Lakeland and to make friends happy with a great gift,  click here to  buy the book.

Happy Cooking !

 

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