It’s easy to knock Tana Ramsay, although perhaps best not to do when the old man is around, but it’s also unfair too. Sure she’s the wife of a very rich and powerful man but unlike say Nigella, she wasn’t born into money and status and at the end of the day she is a down to earth mother the like of which can be seen as guests, hosts or victims any day on Daytime TV.
We know that Gordon has his own kitchen at home to which he keeps the metaphorical key, but it’s clear that Tana’s kitchen is the true spiritual centre of the house, one where a bit of mess is acceptable and the kids can play happily. That’s why this book is subtitled Good Honest Food Made Easy and is essentially family recipes of the sort that are more about friends, family and laughter than fancy presentation and cheffy tricks and tweaks. Here is someone who likes to scrape the burny bits out of a pan when no one’s looking and lick the beaters of the Kenwood too.
So here we have the things we all secretly rather yearn for when honest with ourselves and friends – chicken soup, steak sandwiches, bubble and squeak, a simple curry and all that goes with it and of course great plates of pasta rich in tomatoes and garlic and oil and butter. Tana prefaces each chapter with her own thoughts on motherhood and life/work balance and comes across as calm and cool, a contrast to her husband who one suspects is a bit of an old softy really when it comes to home and family whatever recent revelations may indicate.
If Gordon comes home from a hard day’s effing and blinding to find dishes like this on the table I suspect he’s pretty content. It’s a good cookbook to actually cook from and one I suspect will get far more use than many that aim high but are essentially over our heads.