It’s been about two weeks now that my family have been in lock-down. We are hardly social at the best of times, so the enforced distancing, in our very rural neck of the woods, has meant very little to us. In fact, considering what is going on around the entire world, our lives here are embarassingly pleasant and trouble-free.
Oh don’t get me wrong, there have been some problems: the shops are out of the gin that The Author and I prefer, and we have resorted to a gin with fewer juniper notes. (I know!) And the lack of school for the kids (now actually all teenagers in various degrees of hormonal angst) means that The Author and I have to force them to go outside in the sunshine, otherwise I think they would moulder away with their phones in their withered hands. Continue reading →
The Son, who is nothing if not consistent, gets up every single morning for an unvarying routine of cereal and a copy of Asterix or TinTin. For the past month, he has added to his early repertoire the question, “Why is it so dark?”
There is no mistake: we are in the bleak midwinter.
Today was exceptionally dark, due to the clouds that covered what little rays of sun were peeping over our eastern field. But it’s not all gloomy.
The hedgerows are valiantly holding onto the last colour of the season. The tips of this past year’s hazel shoots are spangled with golden leaves which glow in the morning mist. In the late afternoon, before the sun dips below the horizon, these wavy gold-tipped branches – swaying above the denuded ash, blackthorn, may, and rowan – are beautiful, and unexpected.
Today has been one of those brilliant days when the sky is azure, the sun is shining, and high tide is at 3:00, perfect for our favourite beach. I know this because, while I was at work, The Author took the three kids and visiting cousins there. They spent the day picnicking, frolicking, swimming, and collecting pebbles and driftwood.
I spent the day cooking.
This evening, I arrived home first, and then the beach-goers arrived. They all piled out of the car, sticky with ice cream and smelling intoxicatingly of Continue reading →
Let me say a few words about The Son, who is 10 years old. He has always surprised us with his wide-ranging, quirky and sophisticated tastes. He is funny and smart, and he looks the part in his lab coat which he asked for when he was six and which he continues to wear to all sorts of places, including the moor for a 4-mile walk.
He can be loving and generous, and he is the one child we can count on to give us pieces of his candy when he has some.
He can read a 300-page book in a day, and he would probably like nothing better than to do that, although he has started to take an interest in improving his physique (push-ups on the patio at 8:30 a.m. is a new development). Continue reading →
I have gone on strike. Or, to put it more accurately, I have quit.
Things had been leading up to this for a while. I was having a conversation with The Son, trying to get him to help out around the house, and when I listed all the things I do, he said – quite gleefully, I might add – “It’s like you’re our servant!”
Then, two weeks ago, the three kids had their half-term break, and The Author – unable to work with three kids milling around all day – had an enforced holiday as well. Me, well I still had work to do, and uncomplainingly (yep) I did it. When I got home from the college, the house was a tip: breakfast dishes and lunch dishes piled up on the table, the floor covered with debris of all kinds (where does it all come from?!), and the laundry in a big pile that had sat there for a week because no one approached it except when they were out of something to wear, despite my daily request to please put the clothes away. Something had to give, and I’m afraid it was my temper.
After ranting for a bit how I’m NOT a servant, and we are all members of the household and we all have to pitch in, I looked at everyone’s glazed eyes and thought, I’m not getting through to them. So I officially quit. Continue reading →
Winter is the time for lemons. That makes me very happy, because that is the time that I crave them most. I don’t know if it’s because I need the vitamin C, or if the lack of sunlight makes me appreciate the lemon’s visibly sunny character, or if it’s just that after a few months of heavy food, my palate is craving a vacation.
I have a lot of recipes for things with lemon, but in terms of making dinner, Caesar Salad ticks all the boxes: Continue reading →
One of the things I like about cooking is that fact that you can do so many different things with the same ingredients. If you give a potato to six different people from six different countries, you’re likely to get six very different dishes, from pierogies to gnocchi to bravas to dauphinoise to rosti to knishes. I think that’s exciting. Every new food is a new and tasty adventure.
My mom Sandy, on the other hand, is unswerving when it comes to food. She likes things the way she likes them. If you gave my mom a potato, odds are she would make garlic mashed potato. It’s her favourite, her one-and-only.
Typical conversations about food with my mom go something like this: you mention that you had a pizza for dinner, and she will wax poetic about the great pizza at Angelina’s in New Jersey – “That pizza was so good. Remember how good that was?!” (As far as I know, she last had that pizza in 1969. It must have been some pizza!) Continue reading →