On the programme this
evening we have Wok Cruet who has come to talk
about his new TV cookery show, Cooking with
Cookbooks. Welcome, Wok.
Thanks for inviting
Since the pioneering
writing of Mrs Beeton, cookery books have been
considered an essential household reference, but
recently a huge problem has emerged, hasnt
Surveys have shown that impulse purchases of such
books, with their glossy photographs of tempting
recipes, has meant that the average British
household has gained a new one approximately
monthly since 1975.
I believe this is
having huge social implications?
national accommodation crisis looming as homes
become increasingly full of cookery book. Some
families have lost the use of several rooms.
And I gather that
these frightening statistics are set to rise as
forty percent of titles stocked in UK bookshops
are by celebrity chefs.
recently it had been possible for households to
quietly dispose of surplus recipe books into
their dustbins. The revelation that these now
constitute fifty percent of all landfill, however,
has driven local authorities to refuse to collect
or process this kind of waste.
Why do people keep
Its hard to
know. Research has indicated that no one except
Delia Smith had actually cooked anything from a
written recipe since 1982. It seems to be an
incurable national addiction.
And this is where
your new show comes in?
The aim of the
programme is to solve the cookbook problem and
the lack of home cooking in one go by showing
people how to prepare, cook and eat cookery books.
I gather there were
some biological issues to overcome?
Yes. The paper from
which the books are made is primarily constructed
of cellulose which is not well digested by humans.
It can, however, provide a valuable source of
Doesnt it taste
Eaten raw, yes, but
soaking in flavoured sugar solutions or
marinading in savoury sauces can make pages both
easy to swallow and also impart a delicious
So, what recipes will
you be showing us?
Well, Ive now
totally ceased to use traditional pasta,
favouring the hugely more flexible material from
redundant cookbooks. Pages can be used in sheets
for lasagne, cut into strips for tagliatelle,
rolled into tubes for cannelloni or cut to form
any other traditional Italian variety. Very
finely chopped pages can, of course, be used to
thicken stews or help jams to be less runny.
I gather some pages
can even enhance presentation?
You can incorporate photographs from the books
into your cooking by, for example, using a cheese
impregnated photograph of a lasagne as the top
layer of that dish, or by using a sugar soaked
image of royal icing to cover a fruit cake. Inks
dissolving from the pictures will add colour to
And theres a
new book to accompany the series?
It includes all the
recipes, and the pages are made of rice paper to
allow it to be more easily used for future
Thank you for joining
us, Wok. Well all look forward to the first
programme of Cooking with Cookbooks,
this Thursday at 7.30 pm.