Bon­nie bairns

Jeremy Lee’s taste of home

The Guardian - Cook - - Front Page -

When I was grow­ing up, I didn’t have school lunches. In­stead I’d go to my grand­mother’s house in Dundee ev­ery day. Her name was Jessie Dorothy Ste­wart and she was a very canny Scotswoman, with a small but good reper­toire of dishes that we all loved: amaz­ing mince and tat­ties, with beau­ti­ful cloud-like suet dumplings (which I’ve never been able to repli­cate), a won­der­ful trea­cle dumpling – a suet pud­ding we were all mad for – and her len­til soup, which sim­i­larly we were all pas­sion­ate about. My mother got the recipe from her and made it too, and now I make it.

My grand­mother was trag­i­cally wid­owed when I was very young. I was one of four, so she played a huge part in rais­ing us; hav­ing lots of grand­chil­dren to look af­ter was very im­por­tant to her.

She and my mother brought us up proper. She had won­der­ful re­la­tion­ships with all of us, col­lec­tively and sin­gu­larly. She was gen­er­ous and kind, naughty and funny; a great talker. She knew the most mar­vel­lous sto­ries about ex­tra­or­di­nary char­ac­ters. We were lucky to have her.

My grand­mother’s len­til soup is a very dour Scot­tish dish: plain, good, or­di­nary, fine cook­ing. Just the thing to warm the soul and heart and belly. Some­thing for cold days – not some­thing you have at the height of sum­mer. That said, when the sun goes down in Scot­land, even in the sum­mer, a hot broth is just what you want. The weather is pretty change­able on this tem­per­ate is­land of ours …

It was the first dish that made me aware of cook­ing be­ing about hearth and home. When it was cook­ing – it took ages on the hob – it filled the house with a won­der­ful em­brac­ing

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