I’ve always enjoyed getting creative in the kitchen, but lacked confidence to share it with others. My style is not sophisticated, neither is it unique. I just love feeding people and having them gather around my table. The culture of eating together, was something I was brought up with. Whenever I have lived with at least one other person, I have rarely eaten alone of an evening. And when I lived alone, I was always gathering friends round to share one pot wonders with. My food tends to be low-key and as low-fuss as possible. I have always cooked creatively but frugally. People will compliment me on my cooking from time to time, but more often than not they simply emit polite murmurs of appreciation as they tuck in. My food does not become the specific subject of conversation at the table, although we are a greedy lot – future meals or interesting ingredients are often discussed whilst we eat! For me, a shared meal is about providing nourishment for the body but more importantly, it is about togetherness and conversation – food for the soul.
I have a confession. I rarely follow recipes. I get that from my mum. She is the ultimate in hosting random people who show up on the doorstep and accidentally stay on for dinner. Whatever is in the fridge, freezer or cupboard will be thrown together to create a hearty meal. So, I’ve also had some fun writing my own recipes in 2012, working out what quantities I used on a particular occasion, knowing that it will probably never happen in the same way again! (That is with the exception of baking, almost. I still can’t help throwing in some randoms just because I feel like it – a bit risky, seeing as baking can be a little like Chemistry lessons sometimes. Although I must admit, happy accidents do often occur.)
I often eat late now, I cook and then wait for my munching partner. And by the time we eat, the food has been kept warm to death. I am ravenous and food is food. A dinner is polished off in much less time than it took to prepare and cook it. However, as I blogged over the past year, I came to realise how much I enjoy cooking and eating my own food. I have my trusted favourites, my store cupboard staples, my preferences and routines, but discovering and exchanging lots of ideas with other bloggers has given me the impetus to explore further.
What a wonderful invention is the oven. And what a wonderful climate we have in the UK to use it. In recent years, I have not even broken sweat when using the oven in summer. One of my favourite things to do is to roast a chicken, together with potatoes and root veg. I marinade the chicken, or simply rub it in olive oil, salt and pepper. I then cube potatoes and root veg in similar sizes and toss those in the same. I’ll time it so that the veg gets about 45-60 minutes in the oven, so if the chicken needs longer, I will add the veg into the roasting tin later.
Even though I generally consider myself a healthy eater, I do have
an addiction a soft spot for crisps. I’ll eat my potatoes made any way, but I love them fried or even double and triple fried (by a restaurant – I hate deep fat frying at home). So imagine my excitement when Pinterest kept throwing up these little beauties… a concertina of crispiness called Hasselback Potatoes. I just had to experiment with them myself. They are baked, and the only difference I could tell between making these and my roasted easies was that you sliced them through (almost) whole first, before baking. Oh, and it’s best not to put them in with the chicken I imagine. The yummy chicken juices soaking into the potatoes will not be conducive to crispiness-making.
Well.. unusually, there are no photos with this post even though I took some. I just felt like having another go at drawing again. But I did stumble across a cute little article complete with videos, if you want to amuse yourself taking photos of food in a restaurant.
What are your cultural habits when it comes to food? Do you enjoy cooking and eating your own food? And,
most quite importantly, do you like crisps/potato chips? 🙂
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1 February 2013 at 06:52
The social aspect of eating is extraordinary-but I’ll also say sometimes I will make and enjoy a well prepared meal to eat solo… when I’m in the mood. If not, it’s a bowl of cereal.
Love your sketch AND your extensive board. I need to spend more time on pinterest! x wendy
6 February 2013 at 14:54
I love cereal! It’s a real meal – I add seeds, nuts, fruit and eat it with yoghurt 🙂
Thanks for your encouragement… regarding Pinterest…beware! It can be addictive 😉 I love using it as a notebook, it’s great.
30 January 2013 at 04:32
I love how you describe food being central to communal gatherings..but not overpowering or overshadowing. Sometimes gatherings can be ALL about the food and the “genius” of the preparation and presentation. Your food preparations seem thoroughly enjoyable, but humble.
“For me, a shared meal is about providing nourishment for the body but more importantly, it is about togetherness and conversation – food for the soul.” I agree. And this evening, while I didn’t cook at home, I called a friend to meet me at a restaurant for dinner, since I knew it would be a richer experience if shared with a dear friend. And, it was.
31 January 2013 at 21:27
Thank you reading and for leaving such a thoughtful comment, Suz! I’ve popped over and loved what I’ve seen so far on your blog, will be back for more 🙂
With regard to eating together, I’m so used to it, I find it really difficult to eat alone in a restaurant. Eating with a good friend is definitely preferable!
29 January 2013 at 23:38
I love cooking and eating too and like you I’m not a fancy cooker and I rarely follow a recipe!
31 January 2013 at 21:19
I can only imagine what alchemy happens in your kitchen Diana. What with all your creativity and passion for things..!
1 February 2013 at 00:38
(laughing) when people ask me what’s in a meal I usually say don’t ask!
6 February 2013 at 14:52
Keeping the mystery 😉
6 February 2013 at 15:11
29 January 2013 at 22:47
I find that my whole life surrounds food and eating! Whether it is catching up with friends or special occasions with my man, or even going hiking! I have ‘a food’ for everything. It’s how I show someone I care, or love them. I sometimes wonder if this is healthy but food gives people so much pleasure. Love the sketch so keep them coming!
PS Check out all the posting!!!
31 January 2013 at 21:18
Thanks for sharing, Roxy. I can’t imagine why it would be unhealthy to have a food for everything. I don’t, but I’d love to. I certainly have foods that remind me of things… You mentioned hiking, and I thought that was pretty special…then I was reminded of Kendall mint cake. I bought some and then nibbled it for months lol! (Didn’t get much hiking done in the meantime though..)
Thanks for all your encouragement, really means a lot 🙂