Yesterday, through sheer nostalgia, I bought a funny gadget I remembered my mum used to use to make biscuits. She called them forcer biscuits because the dough was forced through metal disks to make very delicately shaped biscuits. When I opened the box there was no recipe and I do recall that this was a recipe that had to be followed carefully or else the dough could not be forced through the slender slits in the metal discs. I posted the picture and a request for any information on the Oxford Symposium’s Facebook page and within hours I had not one, but many recipes and lots of information about the origins of this biscuit and the many countries where variations of it are made.
Cooking is a curious thing. In our homes and domestic kitchens we are connected to a global community of cooks all willing to share expertise and knowledge about the craft of cooking, their family and cultural recipes and their thoughts and ideas about food.
In the 1950s the Associated Country Women of the World (ACWW), an organisation that our CWA belonged to, compiled a book of recipes from all its member countries. The idea behind this book was that through women’s ability to share their recipes locally, that globally this sharing was a step towards insuring World Peace. Mrs Sayre, the president of ACWW believed that understanding what women from other countries had in their pantrys and the foods they cooked led to a better understanding of trade and economy, culture and society and of course food and people. This understanding was, it believed, the foundation of peace.
I love this book and its sentiment but I also love the fact that I am connected through something as basic as a biscuit recipe to women I have never met and most likely will never meet. Their willingness to enter into a discussion with me and to share their recipes is uplifting to say the least.