In the 18th century, an ordinary was a small inn or tavern. A traveller could stop there for a meal; somebody that worked in the city could stop there on the way home from a long day in the counting house. The menu was generally limited, the price was set, the food was simple and comforting. At least in my imagination this was the case.
Here’s Scrooge visiting an ordinary in the best filmed version of A Christmas Carol. (at 8:35)
Many times, an ordinary would be run right out of a person’s home. I like this idea…I like the idea of a meal being really welcome, really nourishing.
Why else? Well, I love food, I like to think about combining flavors and colors and textures. I like to cook strange but tasty meals. But I’m an extremely ordinary person. I’m not a chef in any sense of the word. I wouldn’t even call myself a foody. And I don’t shop at gourmet specialty stores – I can’t afford trendy and unusual ingredients. I like odd and wonderful kitchens and surprising and highly specialized kitchen gadgets, but I don’t have these things. I have an exceptionally ordinary kitchen. But I believe that with a little creativity and imagination, and a strong desire to make a nice meal, out of the ordinary can come something really wonderful.