The Eaters Among Us: Domestic Goddess Dishes on Food, Cooking, and Sneaky Roommates

Beatrice Swords is a fabulous cook. She doesn’t play by the book when it comes to following recipes, but her creations are always mouth-wateringly delicious. But don’t be fooled by her devil may care attitude; she’s actually quite a meticulous cook and has a keen eye when it comes to fine food. She’s a regular Nigella Lawson.

Hayley Daen: You’re pretty particular when it comes to food. If you were a food, what would you be?

Beatrice Swords: Haagen Dazs Praline ice cream.

HD: What is your favorite food location? And what is the most memorable thing you ate there?

BS: Some family friends live in Paris and the Mum is an incredible cook who makes traditionally hearty French food made with the freshest ingredients. The most memorable dish I had was a salad with foie gras that has never been replicated in any restaurant since.

HD: Sounds amazing. So tell us, what is your guilty pleasure food? Everyone has one.

BS: Condensed milk and bananas.

HD: That’s an interesting choice. It sounds like something they’d feed a crying baby in a nursery. You’ve described yourself as a true omnivore, but is there anything you won’t eat?

BS: Chocolate (unless they have, of course, the right chocolate to “other” ratio that suits me at the time)

HD: What was the last thing you cooked?

BS: Trout with coconut and coriander rice.

HD: Your roommates are lucky girls. Have you ever stolen their food from the fridge or cupboards? I swear I won’t tell Emily…

BS: I am a delight, nothing of the sort would happen. However, my housemate in the summer was a nasty piece of work when it came to food territory. I discovered her indulging on a great proportion of my treasure trove. My revenge inevitably came. She was vegetarian, so the only natural way forward was to screw this up. I put together an irresistible sauce and hid it in the fridge, she of course got her thieving little hands on it and contentedly tucked into it whilst, unbeknownst to her, it was riddled with Chorizo! I have never felt so smug as when I told her the news.

HD: Bea! That’s so naughty. What’s the best dinner party or party party you’ve ever hosted?

BS: For my family when we were away on one of our soul inspiring holidays to the wet Peaks that tower over Sheffield. We giddily indulged in Roast Duck, sweet and normal potato mash, orange sauce and caramelized orange and fennel. Inevitably followed by a cascade of profiteroles!

HD: Mental note to invite myself to your next family dinner party. When you go to a bar, what do you usually order?

BS: Shamelessly a Gin and Tonic, a Snake Bite just doesn’t give me the same thrill.

HD: I’m a Gin and Tonic girl myself. So long as it’s Hendrick’s. When you’ve put away one too many G&Ts and are really feeling it in the morning, what’s the best hangover cure?

BS: Ginger Ale and cooked breakfast (if it has been a particularly treacherous time then black pudding and haggis may make an appearance).

HD: It’s late at night and you’re leaving the Lizard. What are you craving?

BS: Salt. Cheese is the only answer to my late night woes.

HD: So it seems you’re single-handedly keeping Dervish in business. Now we want to know a little more about your cooking habits. Do you use recipes when you cook?

BS: I hate recipes! I am bad at taking directions and like to feel like I have actually made the food rather than having my hand held.

HD: Fair enough. But you must at least use a cookbook every once in a while. Which ones is your go-to?

BS: Everyone must have Delia Smith’s big black book! Mine is threadbare and worn through (impending) inheritance from my Mum but I can never deny Nigella Lawson!

HD: Do you have a signature dish? Something you can whip up without fail for spontaneous dinner parties?

BS: Roast dinner, we try to have them every Sunday here.

HD: Yummm. I’ll be over Sunday night then. You’re fairly flawless in the kitchen now, but did you ever have a real cooking disaster?

BS: Making scotch eggs at school during one of our many worthwhile lessons on all things Wisteria Lane, was a shameful moment. We were being examined on our ability to work under pressure, perhaps our husbands had just got home from the office, and I forgot to shell the egg before wrapping it in its snug meat and breadcrumb coat much to my teacher’s horror. No fear, after subsequent years of discipline, the Stepford wife eased out and can easily produce a line of breaded eggs before the key has hit the lock.

HD: Hey, waste not, want not, right? Last one. Cake or pie?

BS: Meat pie!

Hayley Daen is a sophomore at the University of St Andrews, where she lives in a dinky apartment right across from Tesco, which makes throwing impromptu tea parties a snap.

Originally posted on Thursday, March 1st, 2012

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