Colman Andrews’ taste of home
A humble meal of slow-cooked mince and tatties with leftover veg is surprisingly tasty and comforting, and
y home is not, and never has been, in the UK, but working on my latest book, The British Table, and cooking a lot of the traditional British recipes in it, I realised that the most evocative thing for me was mince and tatties. It’s something I’ve eaten, and cooked, in various ways, my whole life.
My first trip to the UK was in 1966/ 1967. I was living in LA and went to Manchester to meet my English girlfriend’s parents. That was my first taste of England. I broke up with that girlfriend, but made other friends,
Mand kept going back. A lot of the food I encountered around that time was pretty grim, but at some point I came across mince and tatties and it appealed to me. From the time I was a kid, if you’d given me the choice between mince or steak, I’d always have gone for the former.
My mother was a terrible cook. I feel awful saying it, but it’s true. My first memory of ground beef would be her spaghetti bolognese: cooked without much flavouring – she was radically opposed to onions or garlic – a can of corn dumped in, followed by some overcooked spaghetti. It wasn’t bad; it was certainly better than other things she tried to cook. I was 15 years old when I realised that a hunk of roast beef didn’t have to be grey inside – that’s just how she’d always cooked it.
Since I started cooking for myself at 18, some version of this has gone with me from home to home. If you have a few leftover veg, you chop it up very finely and throw it in. The last time I was in London, I had a particularly good mince at the Quality Chop House. I would happily go back there exclusively for that one dish.