Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Looking Forward to a Long Weekend

Friday this week is a public holiday. The public holidays here can be on any day of the week. In the UK, they are always on a Monday so that you can have a long weekend. It is a very nice treat to get a long weekend here especially in October. There are still things to do, of course: the services on Sunday, for example, but the pace is different and that's good. It means there's more time to enjoy a leisurely dinner and a glass of wine.

I like food. I also like food writers. I love and adore Elizabeth David. No-one comes close to her. I like Jane Grigson, Elizabeth Luard, Claudia Roden, Madhur Jaffrey, and I quite like Delia Smith. I say quite like as she has produced so much that it is inevitable that there should be some variation in quality. Among other modern cookery writers, I rather like Nigel Slater.

One cookery writer I have not read until very recently is Rick Stein. I have seen some of his recipes, but have not been tempted to to try them. I have, however, just bought the DVD of his programme, a French Odyssey, and the book that goes with it. I did this in a moment of weakness as I rather enjoy classical French cookery. You know, the sort with loads of cream, garlic, and wine, and I fancied watching his programme which is based on his culinary trip through France.

I have now watched two episodes and I am hooked. It's a visual treat to watch his journey, but his descriptions of the food and the recipes he cooks make you want to rush out and try them. I have not been a big fan of eels in the past, but seeing him cook eels in cream and garlic has convinced me to give them a go.

Where, however, he scores maximum points was sitting in a French open-air market reading Elizabeth David's description of French markets from a well worn copy of one of her books. For an ED fan, there is little that is more moving than that. Well done, Rick!

I love the emphasis on eating and meals in the Gospels and the way Jesus is pictured as liking food and wine. There are still plenty of arguments and debates, but it sounds a much better way to conduct meetings than sitting around a table in a church hall.

Enjoy your weekend when it comes!

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