I would like to welcome Ian Barker to have a sit and a cup of coffee in my kitchen. Yes, ladies I know it is a male. Brave I know, but I will be gentle. But before the questions begin a little bit of history on Ian.
Born in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, UK, and raised in the northeast of England. He has an honours degree in business studies from what is now Teesside University.
Since 1983, he has worked in information technology. Following a spectacular leap sideways, Ian moved to Live Publishing in 2003 as a staff writer on a range of computer magazines including the late lamented PC Extreme. Attaining the dizzy heights of editor on the Magnesium Media magazine PC Utilities and was a regular contributor to sister publications.
In 2001, He took another leap of faith and began to take his writing a little more seriously. He has succeeded in getting a few sketches broadcast on BBC Radio 2’s The News Huddlines, with short stories in magazines, and two pieces accepted for the Writers Net Anthology, published in autumn 2002. Further short stories have been published in the Web zines Starving Arts, and Crime Scene Scotland, along with a co-written tale in Admit Two. I also have a non-fiction article on the Backspace writers’ site. A collection of my short stories, Late Show, is available on Kindle.
His latest adventure is the two novels he has written, Fallen Star is out now and available on Amazon.
Now on with the interview.
1. Earliest memory of your Mothers or Grandmothers kitchen.
My grandmother’s house was late 19th/early 20th century. The kitchen had a big range-style cooker in a greeny-grey enamel finish with a double oven. She never had a fridge but there was a separate pantry with a quarry tiled floor and a big terracotta pot for things that needed to be kept really cool. There were always Christmas puddings hanging from hooks in the ceiling and a pot of dripping collected from various roasts.
2. Do you like to cook?
Sort of, but I don’t do complicated stuff. If you can just stick it in a pan or bung it in the oven then leave it to get on with it then it ticks the right boxes!
3. If not why not? N/A
4. What recipe of your mother or grandmother do you make that sends you back in time watching (whichever one) in the kitchen?
My mother always used to make what was known in our family as a ‘hash’. Stewing steak slow cooked in a casserole dish with potato and carrot added later in the process. The potato absorbs the meat stock and takes on a lovely golden brown colour. You can add other veg to taste and if you’re lazy make it in a pan on the hob rather than the oven. Best served with fresh bread to mop up the gravy.
5. What is your favorite herb, spice, or both?
I’m very fond of mint, I always have a pot growing outside the kitchen door so you can reach out and pinch off a few leaves as you need them.
6. If you could be a ghost in that kitchen and watch yourself as a small child, what would you tell that child today?
Pay more attention!
7. Outside of your own country/county, which country’s cuisine do you like or prefer.
British food tends to be a bit of a mongrel anyway because as a nation we’ve imported dishes from the various bits of the world that we used to own. I do like Tandoori-style chicken with its lemon juice, yoghourt and ginger marinade.
8. What is your family’s favorite dish.
You can’t beat a good old Sunday roast with Yorkshire pudding and all the trimmings. Yorkshire pudding is of course a culinary art form, as to how it originated there’s a famous comic monologue: here
9. I have a old fashioned pantry, larder to you Brits… Do you recommend people start one and what would be the most important thing in that larder?
Actually, pantries and larders aren’t the same at all. In medieval times a pantry was for storing bread and a larder for meat. By the Victorian era in large houses the larder was used to store food and prepare it prior to cooking, the pantry (or scullery) served to wash and store dishes. In very large houses the “butler’s pantry” was used to store and clean silver. My advice? Get a fridge!
10. Of all the kitchen gadgets invented OLD and NEW which OLD and NEW are you favourite. (One old and one new)
In my experience, most kitchen gadgets end up being used once and then consigned to the back of a cupboard. Anything that takes longer to clean than it does to use isn’t worth the effort.
There’s no gadget older than the knife and it’s still an essential in any kitchen. If you can afford it splash out on a ceramic knife. It never needs sharpening and will make light work of any cutting task – just be careful not to drop it!
As for new gadgets, it would have to be the microwave – yes, I know they’ve been around since the ’70s! I resisted owning one for a long time but I wouldn’t be without it now.
Ians blog can be found here.
Thank you Ian for stopping by it was enjoyable.