New beginnings and exciting projects

Just a quick note to say hello from The Forgotten Pantry (formerly wonky veg blog), and to give you a bit of a flavour of what’s in store for 2019. For those of you who’ve been following for a while now, you’ll know that I spend any trip I can seeking local home-cooks to cook with and learn from.

It’s taken me to the villages of mountainous Georgia and rural Armenia, behind the closed doors of Palestinian homes, the back of beyond of Bosnia, the farms of northern Thailand and the women of Wales’ old mining communities. To name a few. And each time I’ve been astounded by the simplicity, deliciousness and ingenuity of the meals I’ve encountered. Incredible food fashioned from age-old knowledge passed down through generations. Knowledge and skills, no less, that have helped us eat well and much less wastefully for centuries. 

But the sad truth of it is, these knowledge and skills are on the verge of being lost forever as we move further towards the ready-made culture of our modern world. The cooks I encountered were (unsurprisingly) often women, they were over 60 and many of their children, if they had any, had moved to the cities.  

soup

It got me thinking. What could we learn from the home-cooks of older generations? And how can we celebrate that knowledge? How can we learn to waste less and cook, eat and enjoy food in a way that’s better for the planet?

And that’s where you come in. I need your help!

All this has lead me onto a new project I’m kicking off this year. I’m starting a podcast of sorts. Because what better way to share these lessons – which would traditionally have been passed on orally – than by recording the voices of those female cooks whose knowledge we’re slowly forgetting.

I’m seeking traditional home-cooks to cook with and learn from. It could be your grandmother, another family member or the women you encounter in your day-to-day. They can be London-based or further afield. I’m seeking people who’ve been cooking for most of their long lives and who you think have some wisdom to impart. Whether it’s waste-free ways of cooking, from preserving to using up leftovers cleverly, to frugal methods of stretching ingredients, to simply being able to cook a tasty dish to put on the table.  

In the few years that I’ve done this, it’s always been a rewarding experience on both sides. I’ve met many wonderful people and there has been real enjoyment in sitting down with a cup of tea or spending an afternoon cooking a meal and sharing stories.  

Please do get in touch for more information. Comment below or send me an email at mk.herkes@gmail.com

I wish you all a wonderful 2019.

Malou x

2 comments

  1. Great project Malou, and very much of the moment. I think i AM the okder generation to some extent tbough i do have some older friends who also cook from scratch. We live in a rural area in east of scotland and are in the process of setting up The Kailyard – a kitchen garden group- for mutual support and inspiration. I’m not much of a gardener but will be challenging myself to grow tomatoes this year. And various other wee projects on the go. Glad to collaborate. Good luck with all of it, its the way forward! Cheers Helen

  2. Hi Helen, thanks so much for replying. It sounds great what you’re doing up there, and if you were closer it’d be great to meet and chat more about this. If I come to Scotland, I will be sure to get in touch. Keep me posted on how The Kailyard goes and on your food explorations. And if you have any waste free tips and ideas, please do share. Always keen to learn more! Thank you Helen! Malou

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