I have returned home from work even hungrier than usual after working on the first night of the International Recipe Book project. For two hours I have helped learners transcribe recipes for Hungarian poppy seed cake and Spanish carne mechada with salsa and patatas bravas. I’m now wondering if it is possible to transform half a stale loaf, two lemons and a sad packet of wilted parsley into an appetising dish. A talking point for next week, maybe?
Hopefully the project numbers will bulk up over the coming weeks. Tonight’s group was small (ahem, three…) but as the learners’ English was at elementary level they benefited from a lot of individual attention. As ever, unshakeable confidence in Google Translate helped to obfuscate meaning: I was intrigued by the laurel which kept appearing in recipes and it took a bit of miming and board illustrations to work out that a simple bay leaf was what was needed.
I tried to encourage the learners to use recipes they knew by heart and which had some significance to them, realising that those with little English may have been tempted to simply print a recipe off the internet. I tried to show the group that they could work with what they knew and introduced them to the structure, layout and style of recipe writing through a group exercise in which we co –wrote the recipe for the perfect cup of tea. It was amazing how opinions differed on this!
The plan is to collect as many recipes as possible from as many countries as possible, before helping the group to decide on format, layout and illustrations. One thing’s for sure though – I think a tasting event is going to be essential!