Jesse Burton: “I don’t think I’ve ever tried an apple or an orange until I was 15” | food

When I met my partner he said: “I just want to cook for you, so you can continue your writing.” It was very romantic, actually. And I remember when he moved in, he made this ragu and we’re still talking about it: “Can you make this ragu like this again?” You know when you first fall in love, you thought: “Oh my God, everything is great!” So he made a later rag and it was equally delicious but there is just something about the first ragu, because it was so full of love.

I really don’t like cooking. I find that I have spent enough of my patience, discipline, and experience writing that I cannot be bothered.

I do, though, like baking cakes. It always happens as soon as I finish a novel. I start to get back to myself and like to do something practical but creative with my own hands. But then always, oh my gosh, I’ll misread the ingredients or I’ll misread the oven and turn on the grill instead. Recently, I actually grilled some pancakes. But I do enjoy baking cake occasionally because you get that sweet thing at the end of it. It is easier than writing a book.

getting hungry When I start working. It’s a reward mentality and my rewards are always chocolate cookies, chocolate bars, or Kinder bars – any nursery food or after-school sweets. Everything is quite childish. I won’t reward myself with some carrot sticks, as much as I try.

My mom was the dean of Keshi. And she made pancakes, which are beautiful baked Alaskans, and she was really good at making sweets, and things like profiteroles. We’ve always had homemade food – even though she was a full-time woman – and she was quite experimental in the early ’90s. I remember being like: “What is this? It’s gross.” Which now I’m just thinking: “Oh, what a ungrateful little bullshit.”

When I was a kid, I hated raw fruit. I was a huge vegetarian eater, and there were no vegetables I wouldn’t eat. But I don’t think I ever tried an apple or an orange until I was fifteen. You found the body, and the seriousness of it, very disturbing, because you didn’t know what you were going to get when you nibbled on it. She didn’t know if it would rot or not. Oh my God, I look such a weirdo!

In my twenties, I acted And we were just surviving on the Pret a Manger baguette, and maybe the soup. You don’t exactly work on fumes, but culture doesn’t focus specifically on eating – for various reasons.

Food in my books Somewhat symbolic, of what is happening in the community. So there is a comment on the sugar trade vignette, the mysterious truth behind it; And pineapple in it lucky houseWhich is a symbol of luxury but there is an attempt to snatch it from its homeland and plant it in cold weather. [in early 18th-century Amsterdam]which I also found an interesting comment about colonization.

I really enjoyed Writing Cornelia’s character [in The House of Fortune], who is a great cook. The recipes I give her are from a book called The Reasonable Cook: Dutch Food Ways in the Old and New World. It was published in the 1680s and contains things like sturgeon stuffed with carrots, or duck… There is a lot of stuffing. The only thing we made out of it – actually, it’s not me, it’s my partner – were those little pancakes. For one of my birthdays, he bought me a proper frying pan, so we have those days and holidays. This is as far as I go.

I love food And I have happy memories about that. It’s weird, it was never created by me. It has been created for me by others. I am very grateful for that; This is a nice place to be.

My Favorites

Picnic food. So cheese on crackers with sauce and my partner makes sausage rolls from scratch.

He drinks
I love margarita. The only time I’ve used my Nutribullet is to make a margarita, so every three seconds I put in a silver patron, lemon juice and ice and you get that kind of frozen margarita.

place to eat
at home. Life is very busy sometimes, it is very good to sit together and eat.

plate to make
I am so happy to make Jamie Oliver’s 15 Chocolate Cake. The mixture is very shiny and attractive, and there is a lot of chocolate in it. Then you give it to people and you’ll be super popular for a few hours.

Jesse Burton’s latest novel, The House of Fortune (Picador, £16.99) has just been released.. To support Guardian and Watcher, order your copy at Delivery charges may apply.

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