Friday - - Editor’s Letter - Natalie Long, edi­tor Reach me at

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.

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