When you are looking for a recipe, where do you look first - inside a cookery book or on the internet?
Last week I decided to have go at making some marmalade and did what I always do in these situations - I went through all my cookery books looking for recipes. I am often inspired by something I see online but it's my books I turn to for the nitty gritty. I gathered together the titles with references to marmalade then sat down with a cup of tea and read them all, trying to work out which would be best for a beginner. I could have just googled "marmalade" but then I would not have been able to touch and handle and open all those books with their pages of inspiration, with their splashes and spills reminding me of past cooking sessions. I don't have a tablet or netbook, my kitchen is very small and I'm a messy cook. For all these reasons, I prefer to cook with a book propped open next to me. If I spill something on it, I wipe it off, and I don't keep having to re-open a screen when the screen saver comes on and it all goes dark.
I often find the planning process one of the most enjoyable aspects of cooking; the reading, the thinking, the list writing. In this instance, it was also more enjoyable than making the marmalade. I couldn't find Seville oranges anywhere (I used navel oranges) and couldn't face driving across Leeds to Waitrose in the snow. The orange peel is much too thick (slicing the peel took AGES) and it's a bit too runny. I didn't have time to boil it for longer because I had to go and collect Bella from school. I'm sure this happens to all the best chefs.
Oh well, it still tastes nice. I'll chalk this one up to experience and my next batch will be much better.