Jerry Hall had said that her mother had advised her “to keep a man, you must be a maid in the living room, a cook in the kitchen and a whore in the bedroom”? Screw that! When I was growing up, I remember my mum’s best friend saying how she never tidied up much when friends were coming round. She would just put a pretty throw over the sofa, dim the lights and light some candles. Genius! Her house always felt warm and welcoming.
In 1982 Erin Pizzey, activist, novelist and founder of Chiswick Women’s Aid, published the Slut’s Cook Book. This book was written for women who rejected the 1980’s notion of the ‘Superwoman’ but did enjoy friends, family and food. The result is a guide to entertaining in style with recipes for starters, main courses, salads and desserts for those who enjoy expending very little energy for an awful lot of praise and fun.
Pizzy says: “If you are the sort of person who need callouses on your knees from scrubbing the floor, or beads of sweat on your brow from kneading dough, put this book down. Everyone else read on for a course in instant entertaining“.
I love her approach to cooking for friends. “It’s obviously ridiculous to prepare a first course that depends on split-second timing”. The book is casual and fun and tends to involve a lot of booze. Dinner parties that involve a lot of stress are awful… you just don’t need it! If you don’t like cooking, she says don’t cook! You can feed people very well with pâté, French bread and a salad. Even the recipes for condiments include advice on how to remove the stress. In her recipe for mayonnaise she says that it is sneaky stuff and can sense a nervous beginner and advises the reader to fill their glass with gin and take a big slug before starting!
She is quite scathing of women who spend forever producing elaborate and complicated meals made up of endless, perfectly-presented courses. Pizzy suggests that they probably don’t enjoy sex! “Ladies who throw highly organised dinner parties with lots of courses are, in my experience, usually uptight and neurotic”. Pizzy doesn’t take any prisoners and her controversial views have bought her death threats from other women!
It’s not a vegan or even veggie cook book but I like the idea of veganising it. The recipes are a little dated (Grilled Grapefruit, Greek Salad, Stuffed Aubergines, Corn Chowder, Brandy Snaps and Cream) and might need dragging into the 21st century. The Vegan Slut’s Cook Book – that would be a great project!