Col­man An­drews’ taste of home

A hum­ble meal of slow-cooked mince and tat­ties with left­over veg is sur­pris­ingly tasty and com­fort­ing, and

The Guardian - Cook - - To Finish -

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.

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