Browse Nourish Stories by Keyword


She’s no very good at cooking, is mum.
She’ll even admit that herself!
Although, I’ll confess, she’s no bad as some,
I’d still rather dad cook by himself… 

It’s silly, you know, the pressure she feels:
“The mother must cook in the nest!”
But there’s more to a mum than tasty meals,
Far much more than the cartoons suggest.

See, mum takes care of me in other ways,
“Nourish” doesn’t simply mean “food”.
It means being there, knowing what to say –
Giving the world (and more) if you could.

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Keywords (not used): 
Poem, parenthood, love, cooking

A Burns Supper

Stephen Murphy

The smell of haggis, totties and turnip wafted through the living room. We had just moved to this three-bedroomed semi in November of ‘84 after thirty years in a tenement in Possilpark, where Mum had brought up five of a family. She had a Burns Night every other year but this was the first one I had really taken notice of. It was like a house warming for her as well. There were roughly sixteen people there that night, but we fitted better than we ever would’ve in the old tenement.

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Keywords (not used): 
scotland, food traditions, family, memories, cooking, Scots

A Feast of Marzipan

Tim Sinclair

A grey-haired man pauses in the kitchen doorway. He is lost in wonder as he looks across the room to the two ovens, enamelled in a cooling duck-egg blue. The pale colouring contrasts dramatically with the black of the cooker top and the polished steel of the hotplate lid. It is no larger than any standard cooker, but this is cast-iron and it's a new design. It stands serene beside drab kitchen cupboards and the ubiquitous white fridge. It is a marvel.

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Keywords (not used): 
baking, cooking, treats, memories, childhood, Easter

A Literary Diet

Liz Power

My mum, a Yorkshire farmer’s wife, was a frustrated bookworm – more interested in words than food. She was an accomplished juggler of a full-time job as a midwife, rounder-up of escaped cows and mother of four children.

Our household extended to six when my aunt, uncle and two cousins came to live with us for a while, in that foodie desert era, known as the 1970s, where the height of gastronomic sophistication appeared to be dried Vesta curries, Smash Mash and Black Forest Gateau.

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Keywords (not used): 
stories, family, childhood, cooking, memories, parenthood

A Moment with Mary Shaw

John Marletta

Mary Shaw told me this story, stressing that despite her age she was not present in the audience. During World War Two a nutritionist was sent from London to help the women of Glasgow make the most of any local food produce. The woman held a presentation in a Glasgow hall that was well attended and among her themes was the making of soup from fish bones. The soup was prepared and after the demonstration, questions were sought. From the audience a woman asked the only question that day – “What happened to the rest of the fish?”

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A Nourishing Start

Liz Denny

I am a child of Labour’s post-war welfare state. The children who were to have their diet supplemented with calcium from free milk, and vitamins A, B, C and D, contained in free ‘welfare foods’, ensuring our future growth and development. We were to be a healthier, better-nourished generation.

For my parents, who experienced the ‘hungry thirties’, having children of their own who were well nourished was at the forefront of their mind, it was part of their dream for a better society.

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A One Woman Cottage Industry

Alan Ling

When I think of food I often think of my mum.

Folk say “ye cannae beat your ma's cooking”, and I find that statement most agreeable when I look back at all the soups, stews, roasts, curries, salads and cakes she whipped up for our wee family.

I love food, and at 33 years old I will eat and enjoy pretty much anything – be it the filthy (battered macaroni cheese), the pretentious (flavoured ‘foams’) or the rather unnecessary (rancid shark meat).

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A Serving of Canteen Life

Roddie McKenzie

Our chores…and am bored:
Slice and butter the rolls,
discard their fired shells in middens
where they lie like open clams,
gaping hungrily for the pearl
of egg: fried, greasy, golden or queasy or
ssss-sausages spitting from hot fat.

a cackle with a hacking knife,
Mary murders Lorne sausage,
battering each slice flat
like plasticine on trays.
She entombs them to shrink in the ravening blast
which takes a hefty share for the oven.

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Keywords (not used): 
Poem, food production, cooking

A Still-Beating Heart

Mark Wightman

In much the same way alchemists tried to convert base metal to gold, I can’t resist trying to turn basic ingredients into something exotic. Give me a quantity of braising steak and I’ll attempt an Indonesian beef rendang before a humble casserole.

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Keywords (not used): 
Hong Kong, market, childhood, cooking

Burnt things have a taste all their own

TS Shenton

My mother used to say, "Mmm. Burnt things have a taste all of their own." And she was right. Burnt things have a gritty, grainy texture to them and a bitterness that spits on the roof of your mouth and pulls your cheeks together. Like lemon, but not as pleasant. Not as clean.

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Keywords (not used): 
cooking, family, memories, childhood