Stephen BennettThe Railway Man
Unusually, this cookbook has not been written and inspired by a famous name chef, who will want you to use liquid nitrogen to make ice-cream or purchase strange Far Eastern herbs and spices. It has been compiled instead by a group of 17 perfectly ordinary men who have adopted the description ‘Gourmet Geezers’ and are members of a rather unique Group, called Cooking for Men, from within the Haslemere, University of the Third Age (U3A). There are over 1,000 U3As across the UK, with hundreds of interest groups and more than 400,000 members nationally.
We are a mixed bunch that don’t take ourselves too seriously. Our nicknames reflect variously our backgrounds, positions in the group, or aspects of cooking that at which we either excel or have failed spectacularly.
Tim BentleyMr Smooth
Bill BlackThe Professional
Ken BraysherThe Undertaker
Alan DavisMy Syllabub
Don GribbleThe Godfather
Ken GriffithsCommunity Ken
Joseph GuardacioneThe Italian Job
Peter MercerMr Roast Potatoes
Tim PageMr Dancer
John PearceMr Timeline
Graham PerrettLeader of the Pack
John PetersonThe Entertainer
Mike PughThe Producer
Chris SimisterThe Wino
Terry WattsHumble Crumble
We meet twice a month and we take it in turn to be ‘Cook of the Day’. The task for each session is to devise recipes for a two-course meal, learn how to cook it, purchase sufficient ingredients to feed the group and bring copies of the recipes from which the rest of the group prepare and cook, under the Cook of the Day’s direction. We then all enjoy the fruits of our endeavours, washed down with a glass or two of wine. Friendly banter is rife at every session: from the minute we sit down with coffee to be briefed by the Cook of the Day on what we’re about to do, until (and especially) when it comes to the post-prandial review of what we’ve just eaten. When things go wrong during the cooking – and they sometimes do with hilarious results – there’s lots of ribbing.
We are fortunate to have within our group a wine connoisseur – our in-house sommelier - who has recently started up his own U3A group on Wine Appreciation. He has provided some useful tips in the book on selecting wines and enhanced this book with a recommended wine accompaniment for each main course recipe. We can assure you that his choices are perfect, we have tried them all!
Our fun is not limited to these sessions. Every Christmas and at the end of the summer ‘term’ we invite our partners to join us in a party, at which we not only serve a slap up meal, but attempt some entertainment, which have included memorable skits by the group on well-known TV comedy shows and to show that we do not take ourselves too seriously.