Mx Faker you make goooooood Cookies!

Anyone else not inherit any recipes? Grow up with a culinary and historical void where other people had comfort food and family histories?

I remember growing up and seeing family recipes everywhere; all my friends families had them! From polish cabbage rolls and Acadian met pies to Tartatin and Tea Biscuits! Recipes passed down from generation to generation.

They’re all over pop culture. Every sitcom or romcom had them so why didn’t my family have any?

I always felt really ripped off and disconnected from the womxn who came before me. My mom baked occasionally, but working full time and having 6 kids didn’t leave much leisure time. On top of being time poor her mother had died when she was very young and therefor she never had a chance to be handed down family knowledge.The memories I have of baking with my mom mostly involve reading recipes of ta bag of chocolate chips, porridge oats, or jar of peanut butter.

My auntie, my dads sister, baked almost constantly! She was amazing at it, but being a plus sized womxn in a family of fat-shamers there was always a tinge of sadness when we’d bake together. I think having been raised by a feeder incapable of showing genuine affection(my paternal grandmother is mean af) really took it’s tole. Complicated emotions and family trauma aside(lol not really you can’t escape them)… the vast majority of her recipes came from cookbooks… many of which with titles like ‘Eat, Drink, and be Skinny’. Family are wild like that, inheritiing generation trauma and having it layered like a fudge cake between new traumas! It’s no wonder I have a warped relationship with food, my body, and self image.

I remember being told about how great a baker my great Grandmother was, but where those recipes ended up I never knew.

The only source of anything resembling ‘family recipes’ in my life is a now greatly contested cookbook from the 1920’s. I say greatly contested because after my parents divorce the both claimed it belonged to them. My father claims it belonged to the aforementioned great grandmother, and my mother claims it belonged to her mother. I don’t believe either of them to be honest and I don’t really care who it belonged to as long as I can be sure I’ll be the one to inherit it… fingers crossed.

Last year I had my brother photograph a few of the recipes and email them to me. Molasses cookies and gingerbread to be specific. I think I’m the only one in the family ever to have used the book. It lives on a back shelf and gathers dust and that breaks my heart a little. I’ve made maybe a dozen recipes I’ve found in it’s 500+ pages which is barely scratching the surface. Having been written in the 1920’s much of them need updating or substitutions as they can be a bit dated and heavy on the LARD.

Contested Cookbooks aside I never really felt like I had inherited recipes. There’s no box of tattered slips of paper, with flowery hand writing from matriarchs past, stained with butter and egg, that I can finger through in times of need. I ‘d say I’m pinning for a romantic ideal… but I’ve seen them! They exist! In the kitchen cupboards of friends and chosen family, guarded and cared for and catalogued meticulously for generations to come.

It’s is just another way in which I feel unconnected to my past. I’ve always felt as if no one before me existed, not really, they were all just made up, there’s no proof they existed… even in my childhood these existential thoughts plagued me. Would I be forgotten or erased because of lack of care? Would no one guard my memory or care for what I left behind? I was a melancholy child for sure. We all live in a simulation anyway so whatever. Long live the matrix.

I don’t plan to have children, not biological ones anyway, but regardless I want to leave a collection of recipes behind. Foods I’ve poured love and time into to taste test and to master. I don’t want my tomb stone to read; Made Great Cookies… but I want it to be known that I did, in fact, make great cookies. So having picked up a pack of Nestle* chocolate chips from the isle of ‘American Specialty Food'(having thrown my better judgment and moral convictions aside for a taste of nostalgia) I got to baking.

I decided to try out a recipe from TASTY that did not disappoint. The recipe will need a few small tweeks, a bit more salt I think, and it might just go into the recipe log I’ve started to keep for future generations…

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What’s your ideal chocolate chip cookie? Is it chewy and gooey or crispy and crunchy? Milk or dark chocolate chip?

Where did you get the recipe? Family? Friends? A cookbook? The internet? Did you make it up?

Best served with milk or coffee?

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Since I’ve been trying to cut out as much dairy as possible from my diet I enjoyed my cookies with coconut milk and I’ve got to say it was a perfect pairing!

*Nestle is a thoroughly evil company from stealing water to forced labour and much much more. I go out of my way to ensure I’m not giving them money or supporting them, but this time I caved, just once, because we can’t all be perfect all the time.

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International Chocolate Day

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Somehow managed to miss the holiday in an official capacity but luckily had this Tony’s treat on hand to celebrate!

Not only are these bars some of the best chocolate you’ve ever had they’re slave labour free!

Thrift Hauls

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This weeks thrift haul was particularly spectacular!!!!
The royal blue embroider silk jacket is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen! It’s vintage and the tag reads ‘Plum Blossom’ and Made in China! Just look at how stunning it is up close;

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So dreamy!!!!

The teal dress is definitely a bit of stage costume! I just couldn’t leave it behind even if it is a bit stained. Torn between adding it to my regular wardrobe or saving it for a fancy dress or cosplay occasion! Someone invite me to join a Regency Society please?! I need my historical re-enacting fix!

The hat is just too cute! Another retro piece it’s in need of a some love and mending; the lining inside has come unstuck and the veil unstitched…but what’s one more item on my ‘make do and mend’ pile?!

Both the handbags had hints about their past; the little 🍒🍒🍒 print bag shoulder bag had a couple Australian coins in it and the Kangol mini-bumbag had a pair of stickers for the film ‘One Perfect Day’, a pack of gum that expired in 2004… and what I am pretty convinced is a 15 year old hit of acid!

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What do you think?! I’ve never actually seen an acid blotter IRL so I can’t know for sure!

Really you just don’t get that kind of excitment with fast fashion now do you?!

What was the most exciting thing you ever thrifted?! Have you ever found anything interesting inside of a thrift purchase?

These dresses are pretty high on the list of amazing finds and that hit of acid sits pretty high on the list of weird and wonderful things I’ve found in thrifted/rescued items!

Other items on the amazing finds list include a 1960’s bicycle and solid wood 1940’s school desk I rescued from my local dump a few years ago! On that same dump trip I scored a vintage suitcase full of photo albums, 70’s menswear, and a collection of letters. The letters were written during his time in Italy during WWII, one letter in particular stands out to me as it was written during Christmas; he spoke about their celebration, missing his family back home, and then went on to say ‘I do not worry about death anymore, only how it will hurt Mom and Dad’. I still have that collection of letters, they’re so precious to me and I just can not imagine how they were allowed to end up in the local dump!

I’ll forever keep thrifting, dumpster diving, and rescuing and repurposing anything and everything I can.

Can’t sleep?

I’ve been seriously struggling to sleep for a couple weeks now. I’ve been letting my anxiety get the better of me! Stressing about things I can’t do anything about and ignoring the things I can change, taking on more than I can handle to distract myself and then not getting anything done because I feel too overwhelmed even to begin.

… ok wow that felt good. Getting back into blogging has been on the list for a few months, I just kept telling myself I didn’t know where to start or that I didn’t have anything to post about. But surprise, I’ve been lying to myself because I’ve been creating content for the past  few months and just not properly blogging about it.

So this post got derailed but you know what that’s fine. I haven’t been sleeping because I’ve been super anxious. I’ve been feeling lost and out of my depth and honestly feeling pretty shitty and worthless and like a total failure… and that shit WILL KEEP YOU UP AT NIGHT!

To be fair I’ve ALWAYS struggled sleeping. I remember even as a small child having sleepless nights, lying in bed for ages and ages and not being able to fall asleep. Some thing I guess you just don’t grow out of.

I’ve started working out to try and help. I’ve changed my eating habits, no caffeine after noon and less sugar. I’ve started taking CBD and invested in some gorgeous essential oils. Normally these bits work, but recently they’re just not cutting it.

 

 

I scream you scream…

 

Now as an adult I get to make almost all my own decisions and with so many flavors and so many great places to get your fix in London I decided to a give you a run down of my faves.There is something inexplicably comforting about ice cream. For me it’s the nostalgia; loading into the car and going out for a rare treat as a family. Getting to chose my own flavor was so liberating for me.  As 1/6 kids it was one of the rare chances I had to explore what I liked as an individual.

 


                                                                            I live in North London so I’m spoiled for choice! We’ve got Marine Ices which is an INSTITUTION! It was founded in 1931 so I’m pretty sure it’s one of the oldest in the city. They make really amazing authentic gelato and have perfected their classic flavours. I don’t normally like Vanilla but theirs I make exceptions for. On hotter days I’ve seen the queue wrapping around the BLOCK so you know it’s good.

There is also Ruby Violet in Tufnell Park, they’re more modern and a bit more adventurous with their flavour creations! I’m Canadian and a few months back I tweeted at them asking if they would consider making a Canadian classics that I was really missing; Tiger Tail and they did! It’s orange ice cream with a black liquorice swirl, so it does actually look like a tigers tail! It sounds horrid but it’s absolutely amazing!

ChinChin Labs in Camden Market uses liquid nitrogen and make their ice cream and make it right there in the shop. It’s small and the queues can be long, especially during the summers, but the shop front is open and you can watch as they make the nitro ice cream! With puffs of frosty fog and hissing and splooshing of nitro being stirred and blended into their ice cream, it’s dinner and a show! I hate queueing for ANYTHING but I don’t mind it so much here because you have something to watch! I usually go for their ice cream sandwiches, they’re brownie with burnt butter caramel ice cream is so decadent!

 I have to say though my personal favourite is MAMASONS. They’re Europe’s first Filipino ice cream parlour. Their shops in Kentish Town and Chinatown are insta-dreamlands with marble, crushed velvet, and palm leaf wallpaper. They make a Calamansi (citrus fruit) sorbet that is the most refreshing thing I have ever eaten ever. I’ve been going a few times a week with this heat! They’re open late most nights so I’ll get home from work and instead of going home head in the other direction and grab myself a scoop or two. Their staff is super fun and friendly and I always feel like I’m hanging out with friends when I’m there. They give good ‘gram too, I love watching their stories and seeing them make the ice creams and sorbets, it’s really cool to get to see the behind the scenes of ice cream! If you want something super gram-able their Black Boko ice cream is delicious and goth af! It’s coconut ice cream with activated charcoal, you can have it served up in a charcoal cone if you want that all black authentic Camden goth vibe.


If you spend any time in the West End, and love the hustle and bustle and all the glamor. People say ‘you eat with your eyes first’ and that’s definitely true when it comes to most west end eateries.

Places like Yokin with it’s over stuffed Macaron ice-cream sandwiches really appeal to me…unfortunately because of my NUT ALLERGY macarons are off the menu so if like me macarons aren’t your thing they do an ‘ice cream taco’!  How they got their name is a particularly cute(if not apocryphal)story; their founder Sammie was obsessed with macarons and hated wasting the egg yolks so looked for recipes they could put the yolks in! How cute is that? I love that these gorgeous creations came out of not wanting to WASTE anything.

 Milk Train in Covent Garden created cones so heavy in toppings they seem that defy gravity! You can add a ring of cotton candy to you cone so it looks like you’re eating the most perfect swirl of soft serve straight from a cloud! If you’re all about add-ons this is definatly the place for you, your cone is customisable so you’re really only limited by your own imagination.

Happy Endings is another MUST TRY food hot spot. As if the name didn’t give it away they do more grown up desserts. If you’re going to go for a visit be brave!

 

They take old school flavours and add a twist you wouldn’t expect and sometimes don’t even trust but then you eat it and it’s like WOW how did I ever live without this?! They’re hot chocolate with an olive oil marshmallow is to die for. I usually go for their ice cream sandwiches. My recommendation is ‘The Naught One’ ; a miso salted caramel parfait with chocolate Guinness cake and soy dulce de leche. I like that they add something grown up like Guinness and miso and it really elevates the flavour.

Last on the list, but for no reason than poor organisation on my part is Odonno’s. They’ve been around since the early 2000’s and since then have tried their hand at around 130 flavours. They’ve won awards for their pistachio flavour so I would suggest trying that one first, again thanks to my nut allergy I can’t partake in that particular flavor but I’ve enviously watched friends slurp through theirs and they say its spectacular. They import their pistachios from Sicily which just shows their dedication to making quality products for their customer.

Where are you favorite spots to grab a scoop or too?

Kombucha much?

Maybe you’re like me and you’re a bit late in the game coming to the newly gentrified foods. First it was Quinoa then kale now kombucha! Seems companies can’t get enough of lesser known(to us white folks) foods to popularise and produce on a massive scale!

Because I’ve been struggling with my gut(thanks to a load of previously undiagnosed allergies) I’ve spent a load of time trying to find things to help. Probiotics came up time and time again in my searches, and while most of the products out there seem pretty dubious(again it seems like corporations jumping on a trend) I have found one or two that seemed legit! You won’t be surprised when I say I wanted to keep it OLD SCHOOL. Vintage is really a way of life and FERMENTED FOODS take that to a whole new level!

I am always suspicious of trends because if we’re being honest they’re usually all hype and no substance. This was my worry when it came to probiotics so in finding foods to add to my diet I have far more faith in traditional fermented foods than I would say … a probiotic yogurt!

After discovering (lets stop using that word white folks, it has this violent implications, finding out about something that has existed for ages is not a discovery and calling that gives yourself way to much credit and erases the people who DID discover/invent/create/originated it… just think of Columbus)Kimchi a few years ago when we visited Korea I knew I had one tasty food to fall back on… but I wanted more!

When it comes to food I am so greedy, I want to taste and try everything!

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Photo by me.