Cups or kilos

Ten of Cups from the Rider-Waite Tarot deck

Image via Wikipedia

I’ve been a bit lax and let a few days go by without posting but it is that time of year and Santa is getting closer by the minute. But after wrapping the presents and cooking some goodies I pause for thought as I’m also in the throes of getting my manuscript copy -edited. I’m looking to produce an of Cyprus on a Plate featuring Androula’s Kitchen; I’m still not sure which formation of title to use, Androula’s Kitchen- Cyprus on a Plate perhaps? Whatever I plump for I’m planning on getting it out there early next year. Anyway,  one of the questions that keeps popping up is the use of consistent measurements in the recipe section.

When I was given a lot of the recipes the method of measure mostly imparted was cups and I painstakingly converted many of these into metric measures for the readers convenience and my own when I came to cooking them at home . But to be honest I rather like the idea that there are a few measurements  left in cups as a nod to the original recipe, as long as the same cup is used all the time of course!

I have been giving the subject of measurement and method  some considerable thought as I worked through the recipes. My original thought was that I didn’t want to get too precise about it all. These recipes have been used over the years passed down through families and are very familiar to all Cypriots and visitors to Cyprus. I wanted  to give a flavour of the cooking naming the most common seasonings and ingredients used for instance and explaining where some of the more unusual ones come from.

Most cooking in Cyprus traditionally, was done over the fire in one pot or cooked in a clay oven outside so no exact temperature was possible to gauge, it was an experienced eye that measured.The very art of cooking is that, an art and therefore not measured in precise quantities. There is leeway for a bit or creative interpretation and I wanted to give a feel of that. We all have different tastes and when cooking from a recipe I might leave something out or substitute it with something else if I don’t have that particular ingredient in my store cupboard. As Rick Stein often says “this is what cooking is all about” not being to precious about it. And Cypriots are certainly not that when they cook. My Aunt uses her judgement as a measure not the scales.

There are different kinds of cookery books I feel, there are the Elizabeth David variety that give you a feel for the food without too many precise details or even illustrations. Then there is the highly illustrated step by step guide for the inexperienced who want the reassurance that every detail is covered. I wanted to fall in between the two and I will maintain my original concept even in the face of criticism.


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