Carrots and Coriander

I am developing an unexpected interest in the culinary arts. It started with soup and hand blenders, carrots and coriander.

It’s not another unhealthy obsession, I hasten to add; but, I didn’t realise that you could taste pride. Along with organic vegetables and freshly mezzaluna’d herbs.

Who’d have thought that something which had caused me so much pain might actually start to bring me some pleasure? Food feels quite different when you breathe out a little of that guilt and start getting over the fear.

Cooking is becoming strangely therapeutic.

So, with 18 years of cooking skills to catch up on and a palate to educate, I have kitted out my kitchen in quirky gadgetry and some particularly stylish cookware – because presentation is important – and am embracing a new found domesticity.

Food is far more appealing when you make it yourself.

It’s the context that makes all the difference. When you roll your sleeves up, food becomes part of a far wider experience. It’s not just something to be eaten – it’s a slightly charred achievement.

And then a challenge.

Always one for developing my skill set, there’s a whole load of learning around food that doesn’t relate to the calorie content or the fat count – but is whetting my curiosity and stimulating my brain cells. There’s the science – and then the technique – and then the creativity –

It’s far easier to appreciate food when you understand it a little. You really start to get the benefits when you start mixing the right ingredients with the appropriate skill and a dash of imagination.

Most of the time.

And then, when you’ve mastered your one or two recipes that the rest of the world would also agree to eat – well, the door to a whole new cost effective means of entertaining has been opened –

It’s nice to share a meal that you’ve cooked with other people. It shows that you’ve made the effort. It feels far more intimate than a table in a chain.

It’s fun to exchange recipes and discuss cooking tips with your friends. It leads to new conversations and new memories – because, once you’ve got the basic principle (food feeds) under your belt, food metamorphoses once again –

To the stuff that captures an occasion – or the taste that reminds you of a person – or the recipe that opens a new conversation –

It’s harder to turn on something when you’ve experienced the positive side. I might always be a little cautious – but it’s harder to abuse something that you’re becoming friends with.

So, Nigella Lawson, I’m definitely not; but, I can cook a mean frittata and I have a packet of seaweed and some sushi rice that I’m looking forward to experimenting with.

I can rustle up passable plate of food to share with friends; and, I have a couple of recipes that bring a smile to my face – before I’ve even lifted fork to mouth.

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