A short introduction to my second book, “Let the taste do the talking”. I hope you enjoy...
A combination of simple ingredients cooked well with passion.
By Phil Stafford
100 Stunning signature recipes brought to you from The River Yacht Cafe on the River Thames, London.
As Dylan Thomas quotes in Under Milkwood “To begin at the beginning”
Manchester in the north west of England in 1948. Raining. Ice on the inside bedroom windows in winter, Cobbled granite streets with gas tar bubbles in summer, Clogs, Sarsaparilla in stone jugs, Communal toilets, Donkey stones , dolly blue, Trolly buses, Rag and bone men.
There was no racism; there were no immigrants. Instead , we had Gollywog Jam. My Gran fed a family of eight with a Sheep`s head for a week , there were no traffic wardens, they hadn't been invented. A Chicken was cremated only at Christmastime and the only pollution came from hundreds of chimneys, belonging to the factories where everybody commuted to, for twelve hours a day, every day.
Nobody was ever stabbed or murdered, and every Sunday morning the churches overflowed with worshipers begging for forgiveness for last weeks sins. I knew nobody who went to grammar school; and university was a place for posh kids. The only tattoos were love and hate worn by ex cons and fairground workers who sold goldfish that lived for a day and everybody was skint.
All the kids had Impetigo, and would compete to build the biggest bogie from old discarded pram wheels. The currency was Pounds, Shillings and Pence. We lived in a rented two up and two down for five bob a week. I was eight years old when I saw my first telly, a 12” square box, which took 10 minutes to warm up , no colour, with just one channel, which disappeared into an ever decreasing spot , on the dot, at 10pm which everybody seemed to stare into with disbelief; but not before having listened to God save the Queen.
Every home had a ration book which I could never understand because nobody had any money anyway. Fish and chip shops seemed to flourish on every street corner, there were no kebabs, pizzas, or any other foreign muck, just Fish, chips, and Marrowfat peas cooked for three days so they resembled hearing aid green wallpaper paste.
Holidays were at the nearest beach to get to, on the steam train , in my case Blackpool, with every kid in the neighbourhood hanging out of the shuttered windows looking forward to sitting on deck chairs , with force Gale winds and rain blowing sand into your candy floss, and hopefully the highlight of the day, riding along the beach on the back of a knackered Donkey called Norma with a bell around its neck.
I have been cooking for over fifty years. I now live on my beautiful river yacht on the River Thames. I have been very fortunate in my life enjoying the simple pleasures of Cooking and creating delicious food, and running the odd restaurant. When I am not cooking I play my piano . The remainder of my day I spend Entertaining guests and friends surrounded by what I refer to as my tiny corner of heaven.
The book will be available soon, along with many of my favourite recipes but feel free to contact me for more on my experiences.