Blog, book review, Book Reviews

First there was the podcast now there is the book ‘Table Manners’ by Jessie and Lennie Ware

‘Mum. Guess what?’

‘What Jessie?’

‘We’ve written a cookbook’.

‘I know darling! Do you think anyone will want to buy it?’

‘ Well, it’s the recipes we’ve made our guests – the really good ones.

Like the Sausage and Bean Casserole we made Ed Sheeran, the

Drunken Crouton and Kale Salad we made Yotam Ottolenghi and

the two Blackberry and Custard Tarts we served Nigella.’

‘You ate a whole one before she arrived, darling.’

‘It’s a bloody good recipe mum.’

If you have read my interview with Lennie Ware, or listened to any of the, very popular ,Table Manners pod casts, you will know that you are in for a treat with this book.

It feels like the podcast, warm, welcoming, inclusive and fun, just the same as a great family meal. Table Manners opens with introductions first by Jessie describing how the Pod Cast came about, and how she roped her mum into it.

She describes her passion for food and her family.

“ We have learnt a lot about cooking through the podcast: what is easy and what requires a little more preparation or at least a knowledge of your equipment before using it for the first time. Sometimes our best laid plans have fallen by the wayside: the latkes for Loyle Carner that sizzled so loudly we couldn’t hear him speak, the crème brûlée blowtorch that nearly set mum on fire, or ordering an emergency takeaway when I had turned a promised succulent short rib into leather.”

         Lennie ‘ I am close to all my children and they have always brought zillions of friends back home for dinner throughout their childhoods and as adults. We’ve always had lots of fun and I am so happy that I still see their friends and they enjoy coming over. Perhaps this is why Jessie asked me if I would like to help her do a podcast based on the fun we had over large Friday-night dinners, mostly with her friends. So I agreed to cook while Jessie chatted to guests. Of course I could not remain in the background without making a vocal contribution, so I became part of the whole thing.

Jessie and I get on well despite the bickering and the banter that you hear. She’s a great cook and we complement each other, with my trusted recipes and her more modern daring approach.”

Triple Threat Chocolate Brownies Extracted from Table Mannners The Cookbook by Jessie and Lennie Ware (Ebury Press £22)
Photography by Ola O Smit

As Lennie describes ‘I always look for the effortless in cooking. I worked, cared for my children and always enjoyed entertaining, so it helped to have good and easy recipes on hand. As I got older, I’ve learned how to make life easier for myself in the kitchen so that I can enjoy the fun and chat when I’m at the table. So I either make stuff in advance or put effort into buying good quality food that is simple to prepare and delicious when cooked.”

With this in mind, the book opens with Jessie’s delicious recipe for Granola. This is followed by Lennie’s recipe for Pitta chips, Hot Artichoke and Spinach Dip and Butter Bean Hummus. These are followed by, quick lentil and tomato soup, and Onion Quiche.

Table Manners, The Cookbook really is like having Jessie and Lennie at the table with you: brash, funny and full of opinions. In true Ware style, their beautiful cookbook is filled with easy meals and no-nonsense short cuts. It’s divided into Effortless, A Bit More Effort, Summertime, Desserts and Baking (thanks toJessie’s brother Alex), Chrismukkah (Christmas,Hanukkah and celebrations) and, of course, Jewish-ish Food. Table Manners is food for real people with chaotic lives, with the ultimate goal of everyone eating together so unfiltered chat can flourish, whether it’s a family supper, like the Ware’s raucous Friday night dinners, or a midweek meal or informal get-together.

Lamb with Pistachio Herb Crust Extracted from Table Mannners The Cookbook by Jessie and Lennie Ware (Ebury Press £22)
Photography by Ola O Smit

As Jessie says “ This cookbook is a journal of some of my family’s most pertinent and cherished food memories, along with friends’ dishes, simple suggestions and hopefully exciting recipes for you to try at home. Throughout this book, we talk about special moments, souvenirs and domestic rituals for you to share and carry on with your loved ones.

My mum has always said we put the ‘fun’ in dysfunctional, which I guess is represented in this book. It’s a dance through all the worlds of food we love, with recipes that will live on through sharing.”

About the Authors

Jessie Ware is an award-winning English singer-songwriter,

podcaster and author. With over 1 million albums sold worldwide and BRIT/Mercury nominations under her belt, Jessie’s gearing up to the release of her highly anticipated fourth record. Jessie lives in south London with her husband and two children. Jessie won ‘Best New Voice’ at the 2018 Audio Production Awards for her hugely successful podcast ‘Table Manners’, which she hosts alongside her mum, Lennie. Hilarious and hugely lovable ‘Table Manners’ has hit over 8 million listens since launching in 2017 and continues to top the iTunes podcast chart series after series.

Pasta with Smoked Salmon, Vodka and Caviar Extracted from Table Mannners The Cookbook by Jessie and Lennie Ware (Ebury Press £22)
Photography by Ola O Smit

Lennie Lennie Ware has worked as a social worker in family law for over 40 years. She is mother to Jessie, Hannah and Dr Alex and lives in south London. She hosts award winning podcast ‘Table Manners with Jessie Ware’ alongside her daughter, Jessie. Hilarious and hugely lovable ‘Table Manners’ has hit over 8 million listens since launching in 2017 and continues to top the iTunes podcast chart series after series.

Blog, Meet the Maker

Meet Lennie Ware, mother of Jessie, and one half of the very successful pod cast Table Manners

In her sixties, Lennie has, almost fallen, into a new exciting and creative career. She is the mother of Jessie Ware the English singer-songwriter. In late 2017, together they launched their podcast Table Manners, now in its eighth series they have broadcast over 80 podcasts and been listened to more than 8 million times.

Table manners is about ‘family, food and the art of good old chit-chat.

JB Tell me a bit about yourself, and your background?

LW I studied social science at University in the 1970’s. I then

worked as a social worker, and  later trained at the Tavistock Institute  to become a psychiatric social worker. Since 1989 I have worked as an independent social worker and a children’s guardian, often representing the case of the child in court cases.

JB How did the idea for“Table Manners” come about?

LW It was initially Jessie’s idea. She had thought of doing a pod cast based round food and entertaining. She asked if I would cook and I said yes, as I’d do anything to help her.  From when the children were quite young, we would have Friday evening dinners. We had friends round to eat and talk, it often ended up with us dancing and singing. Jessie loved the Friday night get together and the good positive memories.

JB It sounds like fun. Do you have a large family?

LW Jessie is the middle of three children. My eldest daughter Hannah is an actress in America and is currently filming a new Net Flix series. Jessie has a younger brother Alex, who is a Doctor working in a London Hospital. They are all good cooks and love entertaining.

JB How did the pod cast evolve?

LW Well initially Jessie opened up her address book and invited friends, people she knew in the entertainment business. Ed Sheeran, Daniel Kaluuya, Sam Smith, So it started by asking people if they’d like to be involved. The idea was that I would be in the kitchen cooking, sometimes with Alex. In the event it wasn’t like that, I just couldn’t keep quiet. I wanted to join in with the conversation. We then discovered having an intergenerational podcast worked really well. People identify with the mother and daughter dynamic- the bickering, the laughing and I hope, my good one-liners. People often say ‘that is just how I talk to my mum’

JB Who does most of the cooking?

LW I have always done most of the cooking and if Alex isn’t working, he helps too. When we used to record in Jessie’s house she did some of the cooking. I am a good cook but I would say that Jessie is a more creative cook. John Lewis and Waitrose have sponsored a few of our episodes in this latest series.

JB I hear you have a cookbook Table Manners coming out next March how did that come about?

LW We were getting feed back from the podcast with people saying ‘that sounds lovely I’d like to make it ” and similar comments, so when we were approached by Ebury about a book, we agreed.

JB How do you find your guests now?

LW Some people approach us and in other cases it is people that we’d like to meet.

I really wanted to meet Tim Dowling, Guardian Columnist, and Sandi Toksvig who Jessie already knew. Neither of us knew, but really wanted to have Alan Carr on the podcast. We have had Haim and Stacey Dooley, Cheryl Cole and many more, just too many to mention all of them.

JB Have any of your guests ever tried to join in the cooking?

LW We had Loyle Carner, the rapper on. He runs a cookery school called Chilli Con Carner for children with ADHD.

JB Have you had other cooks on the programme?

LW We have had Antoni Porowski the cook from Queer Eye. When Ottolenghi came he cooked me a turbot.

We entertained Raymond Blanc. I was cooking Halibut with garlic fume. Raymond came and took over.

He said to me’ I can tell you are a really good cook’

I replied ‘Do you think there might be a little opening for me at Le Manoir’

His answer “I can also tell you don’t take orders easily”

We entertained Nigella, and she is gorgeous, really generous, polite, and has fantastic manners and she brought a present. We served lamb with a pistachio crust. Alex did most of the preparation that day including custard tart with big blackberries on top. He made two, to be sure, as that’s the sort of man he is. Nigella left him a little note saying how delicious it was. She also sent us thank you cards.

JB How many pod casts do you record a week?

LW We usually do 1, but we once did 4 in one week and that was exhausting. Currently Jessie and family are living with me whilst their house is being done up. So living and working together has its challenges. Last week we interviewed Nicole Scherzinger, and that was fun.

JB What next?

LW We did three live shows at the last Edinburgh Festival, each in front of an audience of 200 people. It went down very well, and so we are considering doing more live events.

JB Thank you.