My name is Jo and I live in Twickenham with my husband, Colin. We met when we were both booksellers and share a great love of books and food- indeed our home does resemble a small, if eclectic, bookshop!
Although, if I’m honest, the food element of this is my obsession. Since I was little my life has revolved around what I have eaten, what I am about to eat, and where I will go to find food! My mam tells the story of summer holidays, where my excitement about a banana split was all I could talk about when I got home. Back at school we always had to write up what we had done on our holidays, and whereas my friends diaries were full of adventures, swimming pools and sunshine, mine were a menu list of what we all had to eat. I remember first visiting food markets in Spain with my family and being amazed at how huge and gnarly tomatoes were! And the delight you get from eating a peach, warm from the sun, with the juice dripping down your chin!
I am very lucky in that I now live in a fantastic, foodie city which is vibrant and full of every cuisine under the sun. Within easy access are some of the best cafes and restaurants in the world, with farmers markets and food shops selling all the ingredients you would ever look for. I am also lucky in that I work for Waitrose so I spend my days surrounded by the best quality ingredients- and daydream about what to cook when I get home!
As I get older I become more and more interested in the culture behind the food eaten around the world- and this is really behind my cookery book collection. Some of my favourite writers (take Claudia Roden for example) bring the culture, the rituals, the history, all to life. This makes me understand and enjoy the recipes all the more. Check out my page ‘My Library’ to get a flavour of my cook book collection.
I guess I’d have to say my favourite food is Italian, but I am drawn to the food of North Africa and the Middle East. I love using herbs and spices to flavour my dishes. And I do like to pair up my creations with good, red wine!