Licking the Spoon

Today you can win a copy of ‘Licking the Spoon’ by Candace Walsh.

My memory is not great. I can barely remember anything that happened as a child and am constantly letting my own children down by not being able to remember their first steps, first words, and other important occasions that mothers really should have etched in their minds forever.

A lot of the memories I do have are connecting with food, primarily the smell of certain foods and of meals being cooked.

The smell of slightly burnt toast for example always makes me think of my Gran and Granddad. One of my favourite meals at their house as a child was tinned beans and sausages on toast. The toast was always slightly overdone, but spread thick with real butter. A similar sort of toast was also served with my favourite soup – chicken and sweetcorn – served in short, stubby black and white patterned bowls.

The smell of roast dinner reminds me of my other set of grandparents. We visited them less frequently, but when we did it was often for a roast dinner on a Sunday. They never used their front door, so we would always come in by the kitchen door at the side of the house, up two steep concrete steps, and be greeted by a waft of sage and onion.

Smells and tastes can be incredibly evocative, and it’s no wonder really that food and memories of food play such an important part in our lives. Reading about food too is something I love, whether it’s just looking at the pictures in a recipe book or tucking into a book like ‘Like Water for Chocolate’ – just reading about the preparation and enjoyment of food can be hugely atmospheric.

"Licking the Spoon"‘Licking the Spoon: A Memoir of Food, Family and Identity’ by Candace Walsh then is a book I can really relate to. Walsh uses food throughout her book, entwined with tales from her life, to create a beautiful story of a difficult childhood, held together by a something constant and often comforting.

Walsh’s life hasn’t been easy, but food and cooking has played a massive part in her life, alongside ups and downs including divorce, death and family difficulties with alcohol. ‘Licking the Spoon’ is a memoir full of insight, inspiration, and of course, recipes – a story that shows us that it is possible to recover from life’s tribulations if you just have the right ingredients, a little luck, and an appetite for life’s next meal.

To win your very own copy of ‘Licking the Spoon’, just leave a comment on this post telling me what your favourite food or meal is. The competition will close on 28th February and you can see the full T&Cs here.



  1. Simon Howes
    5 February, 2013 / 12:23 pm

    My favourite meal is marinated tuna steak served with rocket, new potatoes and mango salsa… If it is done on the BBQ and eaten outside, so much the better! XxX

  2. Emily Hutchinson
    5 February, 2013 / 2:03 pm

    A tricky one, there are so many, but I guess a full ‘proper’ Sunday dinner has to be my favourite, with roast potatoes and yorkshire puds :)

  3. Dibs
    5 February, 2013 / 2:45 pm

    Has to be home-made tuna pasta bake with extra cheesy sauce & a crunchy cheesy topping followed by chocolate orange cake with vanilla custard (I cheat with the custard though, it’s cheapy instant with a spoon of vanilla bean paste to make it taste& look like the expensive kind); manages to fill the entire house with amazing layers of smells through the afternoon & fills the kitchen with family & cats as they try to sneak bits of cheese or cake mixture, plus it’s the only time I can get my teenage daughter to help with cooking as she loves putting the pasta mixture in the mixer attachment so she can see the pasta ‘worms’ coming out the end!

  4. 5 February, 2013 / 4:13 pm

    Currently macaroni cheese – not that I’m in full on hibernation mode or anything

  5. 5 February, 2013 / 4:46 pm

    My favourite meal my chic pea or lentil peperonata with lots of paprika and a lots of yummy brussel sprouts, odd I know but yum,
    Mmmmm! Am feeling hungry now.

  6. Hannah Irish
    5 February, 2013 / 5:12 pm

    Mine has to be homemade lasagne, with crispy topping and sides and some fresh french stick :)

  7. Fiona firth
    5 February, 2013 / 6:18 pm

    My favourite meal would probably be something like sausage casserole and mash. Serious comfort food :)

  8. 5 February, 2013 / 7:44 pm

    Garlic and balsamic encrusted pork fillet with green asparagus and new potatoes. To die for!


  9. Mandie Leenheer
    6 February, 2013 / 12:49 pm

    You have just described my memories of my Grandfolks when I was growing up! The burnt toast, butter, tinned beans with sausages (my guilty pleasure every now and again) followed by Angel Delight or rice pudding *nostalgia*

    A favourite dish of mine nowadays is filled steak with port sauce. We only have it on special occasions (like Christmas). The steak is filled with a mix of cream cheese, grated apple and grated Farmhouse extra mature cheddar. This is accompanied by roast potatoes and any veg that takes our fancy. I also love Indonesian cuisine… Oh I could go on ;)

  10. andrea sherriff
    6 February, 2013 / 1:26 pm

    My favourite food is chicken. Chicken anything! Chicken curry, Roast chicken, Chicken baguette, Chicken pie, Chicken and pasta.
    Love it!
    Think out of that lot the roast chicken tops it, with all of the trimmings of course!!

  11. 6 February, 2013 / 1:44 pm

    Just popping my head in to say “Thank you!” to everyone who entered the giveaway and an even bigger thank you to Josephine. I’m salivating over everyone’s favorite meals. I would eat any of them right now, even though it’s breakfast time over here. Mandie, I’d love your recipe for the steak with port sauce. I was just in London, and had Yorkshire pudding for the first time, at the Lady Ottoline pub. I love that place. Dibs, do you make your own pasta? So impressive!

    Check out recipes, reviews, and photos of food and my glam Cuban matriarchs at and you can also read more at the book’s official website, Bon appetit!

    • Dibs
      6 February, 2013 / 2:47 pm

      Yep I make my own pasta, but it’s not as impressive as it sounds! I got lucky with a second hand Kenwood mixer from freecycle a couple of years ago & it’s now started a lifelong birthday tradition of me getting different attachments (sounds sooo wrong) each year, the pasta attachment makes something that I always would be far too fussy incredibly easy & fun, also a lot cheaper than buying fresh pasta from the supermarket & a great way to use up eggs that are getting close to their use by dates (works great with gluten free flour too).
      As you’vejust discovered the delight that is Yoorkshires & if you’re looking to make them up at home a fabulously naughty thing to do with leftovers is have them with a little bit of jam (or chocolate spread works well too), my Nan used to keep a couple hidden to one side after our weekly Sunday roast just so I could have them as an after school snack on a Monday; wow, just been hit with a massive wave of nostalgia………

  12. Maria M
    6 February, 2013 / 2:45 pm

    my favourite food has always been italian, namely sluts pasta – Puttanesca.
    But i’m 6 months pregnant and my favourite now is jacket spud with cheese and coleslaw with mango to follow!

  13. sarah lambert
    6 February, 2013 / 9:05 pm

    I love chinese food yumm,not good at cooking it though :( lol

  14. Bonny sexton
    10 February, 2013 / 2:00 pm

    my mothers receipe for Potato, she was sick most of her life, and she would make this for me when I could come home for lunch, in Jr. high! When I am missing her, I will make me a big pot!

  15. anna
    11 February, 2013 / 5:25 pm

    my fave meal is cannelloni

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