MAKING A MEAL OF IT
I’ve had two rather long conversations about food at work today. Both chats started as business meetings, which tells you how much like a dynamic 1980s shoulder-padded businessperson I am not (I always visualise Sigourney Weaver in Working Girl when I think of businesspeople; I really need to move on). Then again, it wasn’t just me speaking about food; my conversational partners appeared to be just as gung-ho about the lack of new Rick Stein shows on TV as I am.
Don’t even get me started on why they took Fatafeat off the du TV package. Do you not want people to subscribe?
When I drive home down Dubai’s Happiness Street (yes, really!), it’s often to flick on a pre-recorded (or as I like to say, ‘taped’) episode of Barefoot Contessa.
Naturally, my world got a boost this week when I heard that Ina Garten is starting a new TV series (hopefully, aired on a channel I can actually watch). Build me a house on Happiness Street, because now I live there!
I, like many others I have discovered via the world of Facebook, love Ina Garten. I want to live in her beautiful Hamptons house, have muffins for breakfast on her porch, and come home for a chicken dinner with Jeffrey every Friday. She is one of the few things that enable me to cope with the ironing of bed sheets. Plus, her recipes work 99 per cent of the time, and increase your chances of marriage proposals by at least 72 per cent. (That last statistic – like 42 per cent of statistics – may be made up.)
I’m wondering if by now you are wondering what kind of delights I cook up after watching her show, and the many other series and online videos that are my personal choice of time waste. Right now I can think of only one, which has been in rotation for at least four years and hence has lost its impressiveness among friends and family. (It’s a potato gratin with slow-cooked fennel and onions sneaked into the mix for a little surprise. Have it with steak, bask in glory.)
Yes, I am guilty of watching cooking shows and then carelessly tossing aside the information gleaned, using it only to power business meetings and quiet moments at the pub. Think of the poor cakes and pies, the chopped salads and pots-au-feu that could have been, were it not for my need to stay sitting on the couch and watch just one more episode.
Don’t get me wrong – I love to cook. There’s just a striking imbalance in how much I watch and talk about, and actually do. Which is why it was such a blast meeting our Friday Masterclass guests last week. They were so hands on (someone even showed us how to pipe hearts!) that I felt inspired. I can’t wait to meet more of you – find out how on page 50.