A virgin, a tart, and a complete batch. Susan Jane White has been them all, penning no fewer than three cookbooks whilst juggling family life in Dublin. Author of Extra Virgin Kitchen and The Virtuous Tart, Clever Batch is her third cookbook – released in 2019 – and a deserved finalist for the An Post Book Awards. Why that backstory? Well, we have to admit, we fell in love with her words before we fell in love with her in person, and we’ve been dying to get her on our podcast Chew The Fat since we began gestating it almost two years ago!
SJW’s words are engaging, exciting, cheeky, playful, coquettish and ultimately incredibly endearing. How she moulds language together, like a child playing with building blocks, warms our hearts. How she describes food, or a recipe, or indeed an ingredient, turns how you think about food on its head, and we’re all all the better for it. She’s thoughtful and incredibly smart, and writing like hers takes restraint and editing to seamlessly craft the perfect combinations of words and sounds –– we know that from writing for the guts of the last decade, but she’s also fearless. She’s not afraid to take risks, to stand out, to throw every colour of the crayon box at the canvas and see what comes up.
As for her cookery, it’s exciting in that much like her wordsmith chops she creates beautiful, harmonious (at times exotic and intriguing) combinations of ingredients, whipping them – into submission, she might add, with a cheeky wink – up with gusto into a dish greater than the sum of its parts, and probably pretty great for you too.
She’s passionate without being preachy, health-focused but mainlining treats like there’s no tomorrow and both angelically knowledgeable and devilishy deviant in equal measure. For this episode, we found ourselves perched on her couch in front of the fire for a good hour and a half before we even hit record, but once we did we got the BEST stuff… listen at your ultimate leisure, to the incomparable Susan Jane White…