An Archive of Growth?

A food that reminds you of your youth.

Cottage Pie, hands down.

Yes, yes, it’s basically shepherd’s pie but ours.

It’s very, very simple to make. It’s flavored ground beef with a layer of mashed potato on top, baked in the oven.

It is wonderful. It fills you up, it’s warm, it’s made of simple ingredients. My mom has made it continuously since I was a little child–and probably even before I was born. Finding something that both my father and I would agree to eat was difficult for a while there. For instance, I always picked the onions out of everything. My dad hates cruciferous vegetables. Neither of us can have wheat, and I’ve got a list of other things I can’t have. (The worse for cooking, behind eggs, would probably be the fruit because it means no Mrs Ball’s Chutney, which used to be a key ingredient in cottage pie.) But straight meat and potatoes? Oh yes.

We even managed to make this when we were staying at Wynnstay, which has no oven. For a brief period we bought and then returned a mini-oven (toaster oven) and made a few casserole dishes in it.

The mashed potatoes are saltier here–we always make from a box, it’s easier. The only time we’ve ever done from scratch was when I was 8. We were staying in Fish Hoek and the rental house had a potato masher, which I had never seen before. We HAD TO USE IT OMG. I don’t remember if we made cottage pie then. It was such a regular occurrence it wouldn’t have made a ripple for me.

But I appreciate it more now. It’s a special dish, tailored to us, and it’s delicious.

Photo: Ansy Dupiton (A shepherd’s pie, but close enough.)

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