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Showing posts from April, 2008

Heart of Darkness

So I managed to take a couple of days off to swing by the south east and give poor old grandparents (who for various reasons have been unable to thus far) a taste of The Boy. Jolly pleasant it was too, he sat and cooed and gurgled obligingly thus cheering grandparents up no end. Familial duties discharged it was warm glows all round.

However, with no disrespect intended to the relloes (who it was, as ever, a pleasure to see) it was with no small relief that I headed back north. There's something about the home counties which never fails to get on my nerves. Note, this is not intended as a swipe at the south east in general, I'm reliably informed some parts are quite nice, but never do I ever feel as though I'm intruding on Hallmark card as when ploughing through darkest Bucks.

It took me a while to realise why. Normally I'm a sucker for the picture perfect, glorious villages of old england, village greens, bell-towers, all that jazz. Show me a thatched roof and I'll …

Paying your dues

I've been thinking a lot about ownership recently.

I work in two spheres where originality is a nebulous concept. In writing we talk of all influences having a direct bearing on one's personal style, an unconscious script. If you've read Creeley then some Creeley ineivitably creeps in; if you've read Berrigan then some wanders up without you realising; if you've read Andrew Motion then you'll make fucking sure that none gets anywhere near you whatsoever. In cooking we damn well know about influences having a direct bearing on one's personal style. All those of us cooking at some point owe a debt to Careme, to Elizabeth David, to Escoffier, to Mrs Beeton, to an unnamed army of cooks down the centuries.

I've been thinking about this because I think I've found the line. A grauniad review of some overpriced london eaterie made reference to a deep fried jam sandwich, a dish which I fucking well KNOW to be a creation of the talented bunch in the kitchen at…