What would my mother say?

Published by Emma Lee-Potter in on Tuesday 19th February 2013

I’ve been looking forward to reading Lucy Boyd’s book, Kitchen Memories, for ages. The daughter of Rose Gray, the inspirational co-founder of the River Café, Lucy is now head gardener at Petersham Nurseries in Richmond, Surrey and an accomplished chef herself.

I met Lucy at HarperCollins last autumn when I was invited to the publisher’s Fulham HQ to give a talk about blogging.

Kitchen Memories is a captivating mix of recipes, memories and stunning photography. In a moving interview with The Times yesterday Lucy spoke about her mother’s massive – and ongoing – influence on her. Rose Gray died in 2010 but even now, when Lucy’s cooking she can hear her mother’s voice in her ear.

“I bought some asparagus out of season the other day and I’m still covered with shame,” Lucy told interviewer Andrew Billen. “It’s like ‘God, what would Rose say?’ She’d say ‘Traitor.’”

Lucy’s words resonated so strongly with me. My mother died more than eight years ago but every time I do something she’d disapprove of (not often, I admit) I feel desperately guilty. We were incredibly close, spoke on the phone every day and agreed on most things  – apart from poached eggs, brackets, flat shoes and telling people your age.

She loved poached eggs, I hate them. She loathed brackets, I love them (as you can tell). She loved sky-high shoes and well, so do I (but I’m quite keen on my Converse too). And last of all she thought you should never ever let on how old you are. Actually, come to think of it, I’m coming round to that one…

Kitchen Memoriesby Lucy Boyd (HarperCollins, £20)

2 comments so far

  • Lovely post Emma. I worked at Associated Newspapers at the same time as your mother and often stood in the checkout queue with her in M&S Ken High Street (I didn’t know her but recognised her from her byline pic). She always looked a) very chic b) very calm (amazing given that she worked on a very frenetic national newspaper).
    PS: I’m with you on the brackets; also love em dashes.

  • How lovely to hear that, Karen. Were you on the Mail on Sunday at the time? And you’re right, she always looked ultra-chic and stylish. I’m glad you agree about brackets. I LOVE dashes too…

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