‘One cannot think well, love well, sleep well if one has not dined well.’ Virginia Woolf
‘Water water everywhere nor any drop to drink.’ Samuel Taylor Coleridge
We’ve both been busy and as a result, it’s been a Bad Food Week:
Tuesday night noodles went into the bin on the discovery that the fish sauce I’d used was rank with old age, a taste that may well haunt me for some weeks.
Pasta with tomato sauce fished out the freezer tasted mouldy and old, not a patch on those fresh summer dinners from just a few weeks back.
Last night I worked late and came home to discover that Matt had cooked himself a pizza and left me diddly squat, nada, zilch. Dinner was readymade custard with sliced banana – which actually is brilliant, just perhaps lacking in some major vitamins and minerals.
Coming back home after morning meetings (no breakfast, lots of tea), I’ve spent a number of lunchtimes opening the fridge, seeing it full of cauliflower, cheese and chicory, shutting it again and making do with buttered toast.
The problem is that at this time of year all the produce needs proper cooking. The freezer is laden with rabbit, venison, pheasant and plenty of other things that would be excellent baked into pie, if only one has the time and inclination to make the pie. Even the faggots that have been buried in there for months would need a proper onion gravy to make a decent meal. (n.b. I am not into faggots but Matt is from Tamworth and therefore fearless.)
Gone are the days of heading down the allotment every afternoon and pilfering a handful of beans, a bowl of tomatoes, a trug of raspberries and turning them into dinner. Now we’re laden with things like celeriac, which is a fabulous vegetable, but not quite so easy to whip into supper in 20 minutes after a lengthy day making furniture (him) or editing copy (me).
I should have got on and done a cook up, like my Mum’s cooking magazines from the 1970s advised. She’s still got a Christmas Freezer Cookbook edited by Mary Berry, advising the housewives of Britain to cook up their meatloaf and meatballs and stick them in the freezer so that ‘you are always prepared’. (I still use this pamphlet for Mary’s Christmas pudding recipe, and very good it is too.)
I am not Mary Berry. I am a regular fallible human being with a business to run. And as a result of the Bad Food Week, I’ve been grumpy, yawny, tense and generally hacked off. So today I went to the shops and bought up curry, pizza and out of season tomatoes…and next week I will get on with making some actual proper food.