In about 1996 or 7 my mum, Judy Ferguson, decided that computers were going to be the next big thing. OK for most of us, we think duh, but we’re talking about a 43-year-old who didn’t really know how to work the remote on the TV. She was always what we call now an early adopter – she even got an iPod before I did, which I thought was pretty embarrassing.
She had insisted I take typing back in 1989 because in spite of the fact she ‘knew’ I would go to Uni, she thought typing would be really important when these ‘computers’ became part of everyday life. I hated her for making me do typing at the time….I’ve thanked her ever since.
It’s really quite funny since she didn’t take typing or any secretarial skills at school….she always believed she would be the one to give dictation, not take it.
Her take on things was always brains over anything else and she had to have a new challenge to keep her occupied. So at the age of 40-something, she started to teach herself to type.
Mum was one of the most intelligent people I have known and I think I know quite a few. She always wanted to know more …understand more. If someone gave her an explanation for something, and if there was still a ‘but’ at the end she had to follow through til she knew it all and then she still wanted to know more…
In case you are wondering, she was not one of those people who bore other people witless at parties because they think they know it all. She did know a lot, she just didn’t make it everyone else’s business.
She was always artistic. Sewing her own clothes and then many of our favourites was a challenge and something that she enjoyed. She made things beautifully – better than any clothes maker I’ve ever been to.
All three of her daughters proudly wore magnificent formal dresses made by her. She even went so far as to get labels made “FERGIES”. The styles were classical – to the point that when most people look back at their formal photos and cringe, I look at mine and wish I was thin enough to still wear it!
When making clothes became about something she had to do not something she wanted to do, she lost interest. Sure she still occasionally made an outfit, but the passion wasn’t there anymore.
When I started Asian studies at university, she was just as fascinated and while she didn’t write my assignments, she learnt as much from my degree, if not more, than I did.
So it wasn’t really any surprise when she decided to take up typing and figure out how to use a computer. After a few months of jack jumping over the big brown fox she decided that it was boring and she’d learnt enough. She then started re-typing my Uni assignments for practice. I think she got bored after the 4th one.
So with all this new-found knowledge of computers and what not, she wanted another project.
Apparently (though I don’t remember the conversation) I had said to her that I would kill her if she died without writing out her lamb and aubergine recipe. So she started typing…
After about the second year of visits watching her diligently typing out old recipes, researching the authentic way of doing things, or simply making up recipes from either experimentation or memory, she jokingly asked what she should call this ever-expanding project.
I laughingly told her to call it ‘The Never Ending Cookbook’. I was actually joking, but right up until she died in July 2010, she was still typing out recipes.
So the recipes that are this blog, are not mine. In some cases they are not hers. In most instances she referenced who gave her the recipe, or where she found it. In any instance where she hasn’t referenced its origins I apologise.
This recipe book was, in mum’s eyes, intended solely for the use of myself and my sisters, Kirsty and Kate. That said, she was clear that when she died, it was entirely up to us as to what we did with the book. I know my sisters have shared it with many of their friends, but I think that this is a gift that should be available to as many as want it.
The joy of these recipes to my sisters and those who knew her isn’t with the accuracy – though you can be sure they are. It is the introductions to many of them that are pure 100% love from a woman with intelligence and humour.
There are 1272 recipes in The Never Ending Cookbook and I my aim is to post every one. There are some wonderful sections in it with fantastic hints and tips for a range of things.
Please feel free to comment on any recipe, or on the introductions to them. Some will have you laughing, others will just simply add to your knowledge.
Most of all enjoy them.