I have long been a fan of Tim Hayward – everything he does is so eminently sound. With his wife Alison, he rescued the Cambridge institution Fitzbillies so their famous Chelsea buns survived.
Tim writes such clever books. His latest “The Modern Kitchen” published by Quadrille deals with objects that changed the way we cook, eat and live. Take the Salt Pig “one of those odd kitchen items that seems to have as much emotional resonance as practical functionality” He goes on to explain why a pot/jar/receptacle of some-kind is necessary in which to keep your salt but admits quite happily that “Nobody is quite sure where the ‘pig’ came from……there are some tenuous similarities in shape to a snout, but the nearest etymological link is to a Scottish ‘salt kit’ which just meant a salt pot” - so there
My favourite of all his books is his first - Food DIY: How to Make Your Own Everything: sausages to smoked salmon, sourdough to sloe gin, bacon to buns published by Fig Tree. Talk about predicting the foodie fashion. When it was published in 2013, we FoodLovers were still happy with an annual outing of the preserving pan to make marmalade. Nowadays home preserving, pickling, fermenting, distilling et al is commonplace – and no dedicated urban nouveau peasant would dare to serve anything but own-produced (or foraged, grown or caught etc). And while I wouldn’t dream of laying all the blame at Tim’s door – and he wasn’t the only one trumpeting the cause - his wonderful manual must take some of the responsibility.
But I didn’t realise for how long Tim had been “at it” until I found an article written by him as early as February 2010 no less in The Guardian called How to Make Salami. Luckily for us it is now online.
A step by step guide with clear, helpful photos about doing-your-own on a domestic scale (Tim, so the article suggests, hung his up outside his flat in London’s in Camden Town). I’m tempted but haven’t quite got around to it yet but if you want to give it a go, please let me know how you are getting on – you might even send me a sample.
You should also read Tim’s blog about how and why we should make it. Of course, when he wrote his article all those years ago, there were comparatively few British salami-makers in existence, so attitudes and tastes must have changed. Tim makes the interesting point that we used to have a “fantastic tradition of salting meat in the UK though never perhaps with the self-publicising elan of other nations (York, Wiltshire and Bradenham have been names associated with various hams and our bacon was ever legendary but neither have really been star players on the international platter of cold meats). Let’s hope with our new British Charcuterie Awards – we can influence attitudes and fashion.
By the way, Tim will be joining us in The British Charcuterie Tent during BBC Countryfile Live talking and demonstrating from his various books. If you are interested in finding out more – why not sign up to our Newsletter (see right) and then we can keep you posted.
Henrietta Green co-founder BritishCharcuterie.live