Friday, January 14, 2011


Snow melt

After all the cooking I did in late December, I find myself significantly less productive in the early days of 2011. Normal life and our first real coating of snow have stifled my creative energies.

That's not to say I've been ordering pizza every night, but we've been less about planning and more about making do with the contents of the fridge and pantry. One day last week I came home and tossed a quintet of fat Italian sausages in some hot oil in the Crueset till they were nice and brown, added some garlic, sliced onions and bell peppers, some dried herbs and a splash of balsamic and then stuck the lot in a hot oven for 20 minutes next to a tray of sweet potato wedges. Done.  Sunday we roasted a small supermarket chicken with some carrots. Monday was chicken sandwiches and a salad. You get my drift.

All the same, food's been much on my mind. I've been working my way through Nigel Slater's "The Kitchen Diaries" and enjoying it rather immensely. According to the man himself, it's an account of more or less everything he cooked in the course of a year, presented as an illustrated diary. I'd call it a paperback food blog. Either way, it's great, much like the rest of Slater's oeuvre.  He's an engaging writer, crafting prose as workmanlike as his recipes (and I certainly don't mean that in the pejorative). His descriptions - of flavours, of textures, even of the weather - have a comforting, soporific quality; indeed, I've taken to reading an entry or two (sometimes out loud) before turning in for the night. I'm looking forward to giving some of the actual recipes a crack too:  I've noted one for a  frosted marmalade cake that might happen soon.

Some other thoughts: as I alluded to above, real life is being a bit of a pain in the ass at the moment, which has me back in one of my frequent "what am I doing with my life" phases. It's so unfair: generations past never had these problems. Then again, generations past were also often dead by the time they were my age, so maybe a little angst isn't that bad. Anyway, people I speak to about this seem to think I should follow my culinary inclinations into some kind of career. I'm not so sure, since I consider myself an enthusastic amateur more than anything else. All the same, it'd be pretty cool to do something with food. Food trucks are a pretty big deal these days, maybe there's an idea there. Better yet, given the quasi-miltaristic/Anglophile theme of the blog, a food tank. Anybody know where I can find a used Churchill?

Finally, maybe this is a sign I'm getting old more mature, but I've been listening to a fair bit of jazz this week. Somehow, slogging through piles of dirty slush is a lot more romantic when you've got Sketches of Spain on the headphones.

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