This morning I am tucked in a cafe and am supposed to be writing an article for a women’s magazine, but have put my article aside to steal five minutes to say hello to you and then google Italian broth recipes.
See? Time theft. In action.
So, why google Italian broth recipes? Well, I have a special someone coming around this evening to begin visioning and creating a range of Gorgeousness Essences that will be launched in 2012 and I have promised to provide nourishing food for her.
The person coming round is rich in folklore and stories and tassels and beads. She is a fathomless well of knowledge; some tapped, some untapped and she is also an old, old friend.
Entertaining such a friend has rinsed November of all chavviness. Suddenly it feels undeniably Tim and Tobias with medieval peasant twists.
Anyone remember Tim and Tobias books from school? Tim = boy? Tobias = cat? Flew around on broomsticks in East London whilst interacting with a variety of spooky people and witches? No? Yes?
Well anyway. Here we are. And instead of hanging around in Sainsburys car park, I am providing a welcoming haven that smells like broth and fresh bread.
And whilst sitting here in this cafe musing over whether I should go for broth or casserole, I can’t help noticing my total lack of nerves over cooking. This is testament to the strange transformation I have undertaken over the last few months.
I can now almost make food.
To a point.
These are forest berry and pecan Bakewell tarts. I’ve also learnt to make bread and a whole variety of other things. I think that the only people who can truly appreciate these Bakewells are those who know me well … those who have experienced how lacking I am in the kitchen-department.
Am not entirely sure where my lack of culinary skills emerged from. It’s one of those age old questions; nature or nurture? Are some people born genetically crap at cooking or are we conditioned into it by our parents? The truth is, I was brought up on cheese sandwiches and spag bol. Me-Acre was a child of Women’s Lib and whilst she was pretty damn good as earning bucks, the kitchen was not her forte.
(Sorry Me-Acre, but let’s be frank about this.)
It wasn’t through lack of trying that Me-Acre experienced kitchen-fail. It was more lack of confidence. Pre dinner party our family suffered. Hundreds of pounds wold be spent in the supermarket. Agonising hours passed as Me-Acre chewed her thumb nail and poured over gourmet cook books. The parents nearly divorced over ensuing stress and the result was nearly always tandoori chicken marinated in a plastic Roses jar. Once the guests had chomped through the tandoori they then got ridiculously drunk and moved onto the important business of writing their signatures whilst holding a fountain pen with their toes and laughing hysterically. Then it was all over. Finito.
When one is exposed to this sort of culinary stress as a child it’s hard not to inherit a degree of anxiety oneself. Obviously it can swing back the other way and one can end up taking over the kitchen and reigning supreme as child chef prodigy. But not mwah. Nope. Sometimes I actually wonder how I’ve made it to thirty without really cooking anything.
But now it’s aaaaaaalllllllll different.
I am learning a new skill and I have discovered that just like anything we want to be successful in (a new project, manifesting an idea, making a roast dinner or launching a book), the same basic ingredients are needed: confidence, perseverance and patience.
Confidence …. A wise nine year old once told me (I was seven and looked up to the nine year old like she was a god) that Madonna once said (brace yourselves), “To hit the high notes you’ve got to sing loud”. This is so true. To really hit any target you’ve got to approach it with a good helping of “umph, by Jove, I’m going to whup this thing’s arse.” Problem is, if you sing loud (like Madonna suggests), people are likely to look and then there’s always the chance the note goes flat and it will be a little humiliating. But hey, if you have confidence, then it doesn’t matter. You just try again … which leads us into …
Perseverance … Things don’t always go right the first time around. Take frothing milk for a cappuccino. I have discovered that if you don’t really care about your milk being silky, shimmering and the right thickness, then perseverance to succeed doesn’t matter. You just persevere in making crap caps. But if you want your cap to truly delight the cap-drinker, then you must push forward, keep trying until you eventually get the milk right. And with time you will master it.
Perseverance and confidence are like Romeo and Juliet. They go hand in hand. And it takes confidence to persevere.
Patience … Sometimes it takes a while to master something. Eventually you’ll master it. And?
So there you have it. The magical recipe for breaking out of your conditioning and doing something new (and possibly scary). I am now going to go and make Italian Sausage casserole. But I’ve decided I’m going to buy some pumpkin bread to go with it as I’ve now run out of time to make any. I was also hit with the idea to publish the casserole recipe that I use on here, but have changed my mind.
After all, this is not a cooking blog.
It’s just a helpful blog.
A little gorgeousness blog. That’s all. And I don’t want to blur boundaries and all that.