Food. Saying or even typing the word 'food' makes me feel better. Like most right-minded individuals (not an accurate self-portrait), I spend a vast amount of time thinking about food and a good amount of the remaining time eating it! (I do teach Catering/Food and Nutrition so it's an actual job requirement!). I pretty much plan everything around food. When I go on holiday it is the food which excites me much more than the weather or even the scenery. I go to France every summer and from the moment I get home I am keenly anticipating the next year when I will, once again, spread various types of fat onto the best bread in the world! Christmas, the most wonderful time of the year, and the setting for one of my favourite and earliest food memories, stirring the Christmas cake mix with my Mam and making a wish. The smell of a Christmas cake baking is comfort itself. I often find that my recall is linked to food and that I can connect a particular event with what I ate. I'm sure it frustrates my wife that I can remember just about everything I ate in Barcelona in 2004 yet can't quite manage to remember to order my repeat prescription before I run out of tablets! (50% kidney function, long story).
Here's a look at how this all plays out in my food-warped mind! It'll probably be rambling and odd, much like myself. ("Rambling and Odd" might have made a good blog name. Can't be worse than "FoodandFrets"! I don't even write about guitars/music as it turns out. I was excited about starting a blog and was too impatient to spend time agonising over a name. Add it to the copious list of my mistakes!) Anyway, here we go. Like I said, rambling and odd; have a read if you've made it this far!
Morning has broken:
It begins as soon as I wake up (usually after being rudely awakened by (no, not the dustmen) but by 2 little people), when my thoughts turn to breakfast. If you are now expecting a list of the wonderfully creative dishes which make up my breakfast repertoire then I'm sorry to disappoint. With energy levels typically around the 'low battery' level on my phone there's little chance of a gourmet breakfast. That's not to say that I don't get excited about a bowl of coco pops or some peanut butter on toast because I most certainly do. There's really only two requirements for my breakfast: quick and with strong coffee. Once I'm seated at the breakfast table (it's usually around my 5th attempt at sitting; each prior attempt scuppered by a little person making demands or spilling things, terrorists!) I look very much like an extra from The Walking Dead, except too scary for network television and it's then that I start to ponder the food which lies ahead. What will I have dinner? For tea? How is it possible to lose weight when I'm such a greedy bastard?! And so it goes (that's a Billy Joel song, see there's some mention of music, though no fretwork yet! Although Tommy Emmanuel does a nice instrumental version, there 'Frets', I did it!).
Sometime around 10am:
There's few things that I wouldn't do for bacon. In an ideal world, a smoked dry-cured middle bacon, not too thick, not too thin. Bacon which relinquishes 3/4 of its weight during cooking, floundering in the bilge water with which it's been injected? Yep, I'll eat that too, though never buy it. The dirty (not 'dirty' as in trendy burgers in brioche buns, but 'dirty' as in foul) Nordic (as in starts with Dane, ends in Pak) bacon is usually consumed when a work colleague enters my classroom looking pleased with themselves and announces "I've brought bacon and buns for break!". Fully aware of the standard of the bacon about to be proffered this is, nevertheless, a moment of joy (though not unbridled, let's not lose all standards here!). What follows is usually a guilt-ridden process which sees me wiping the bilge residue from the pitifully wizened rashers before smothering it in Ketchup and closing the bun as quickly as possible as to hide the Scandinavian scandal from view. Out of sight, out of mind!
Somebody recently said to me "bacon is bacon", though technically correct, the point she was trying to make is absolute bollocks! There's quality bacon (properly dry-cured, also Moorhouse Farm does a good smoked back) and then there's the scum of bacon. So bacon is not bacon, but it is always welcome!
One of the things I miss most about working in a butchery is curing bacon. It wasn't just the end result, I loved the whole process. I did it week in, week out but never tired of it. Deboning, pricking the skin, calculating the amount of cure for the weight of the pork, rubbing it in, waiting, turning it, anticipating the moment when it would be ready to be rolled, tied, sliced, cooked then eaten! When we started out I pushed for us to do rare-breed bacon. The boss rolled his eyes at my enthusiasm/naivety, "alright then Stephen (Dave always used my Sunday name, never Steve) but I'm telling you, the fatty little bastards won't sell. Customers don't want to pay for pork where half of it is fat." I was sure he was wrong and off I went to ring Richard at Blagdon Farm to order a couple of "fatty little bastards". Dave was hedging his bets and ordering pork from Thompson's in Durham for when I was proved wrong. Just as well, apparently customers don't want to pay for pork where half of it is fat (he should've said!).
Well, we've made it to sometime around 10am. Next time we might make it to dinner time, but no promises! Cheers,
FoodandFrets (Well, I'm stuck with it now!)