I finished reading this late last night. I knew I would love it when I was one story in, after two I didn't want to put it down.
Friday, 24 August 2012
In the evenings we stand in the kitchen. Me by the oven, at the hob, standing with one foot flat on the floor, the other crossed over it, on tip-toes. Chris at the worktop, making our sandwiches for the next day - salami, cheese, salad, cornichons, mustard, Dijon for me, English for him. The sun setting, the sky turning from blue to pink, then getting darker and darker. Last night we listened to Spilled Milk, as we often do, and, while I made pasta with bacon, peas, parsley and parmesan, Molly and Matthew talked about their day of perfect meals. When the episode finished we tried to decide what our perfect food day would be. It's tricky, you start with one thing and then you remember a sandwich you used to eat, the breakfast roll from an Edinburgh cafe long since closed, a plate of freshly caught scallops, rotisserie chicken and crisps on a roadside in France. So what would my day of perfect meals look like? It would be something like this.
Early Bird granola with milk and a New Orleans style iced coffee from Blue Bottle for breakfast.
Spicy squid and grilled pork bún from Song Que with a watermelon agua fresca from La Superior for lunch.
A nata and an iced coffee from Fernandez & Wells as a snack.
A white pie from Delancey for dinner with a bottle of the Bandol rosé that we drank with lunch at Petersham Nurseries on my 29th birthday.
And for pudding? A scoop of chocolate ice-cream that I ate in Paris in 2003. It was from a small place on the Left Bank, Rue de la Bucherie maybe? It's closed now but is still the best chocolate ice-cream I have ever tasted. And with it, because that perfect food day definitely needs two scoops of ice-cream, a scoop of the mint ice-cream that we ate at Marlow & Sons in 2011.
I considered custard doughnuts from St John, gozleme from Stoke Newington, and lobster rolls from Maine but I guess the thing about the perfect food day is that it is bound to change, reflecting the tastes you have right now, in this moment, influenced by where you are, what you want from a day. And this food day, rich with memories of meals eaten alone and with friends, sounds pretty much perfect to me.
Thursday, 23 August 2012
We haven't had much of a Summer this year, it seems wrong to wish it away, but I'm feeling the pull of Autumn as we reach the last week of August.
First there was the September issue of Vogue.
Then the first of the Toast Autumn catalogues.
A knee length cord skirt, silk long sleeved top, thick tights.
I started to think about a mustard scarf, a new leather bag, jumper dresses and navy blue moccasins.
I'll embrace Summer while it lasts, will gladly take any fleeting opportunity for bare arms or legs, for sandals, for painted toenails. I'll sit outside for as long as I can, I'll drink in the long days and hope for an Indian Summer with bright, warm September days but Autumn is reeling me in and I'm powerless to resist.
Wednesday, 1 August 2012
Before we left the strawberries were just appearing, not yet quite ready, picked too early.
In New York, Brian had tiny strawberries in his apartment. I would spoon maple yoghurt into a bowl, top it with grape nuts and a handful of those deep red berries and sit back with my iced coffee. In Maine, a day that started with strawberry muffins, continued with lighthouses, lobster rolls, and local strawberry soft serve. That night we ate burgers outside, coming in when the bugs started to bite to eat strawberry shortcake. We were well looked after.
When we got back I was keeping my fingers crossed for good Scottish berries not knowing how this wettest of Summers would affect them. Sylvie, Sylvain and Ellie came for lunch that first Sunday. We ate frittata and a salad of fennel, celeriac and pumpkin seeds, which we had eaten the Sunday before, sitting in Frankie's Spuntino, enjoying the AC and a meatball sandwich before heading back out into the heat. A week later, on a much cooler morning, I had baked a vanilla sponge. A softly simple cake that I would usually cover in vanilla buttercream, and sometimes, if it's a birthday and these things are called for, dolly mixture, they just seem to fit. This time I made buttercream but, instead of vanilla, I pressed a few strawberries through my smallest sieve, maybe six or seven in all. The icing turned pink, strawberries and cream against the vanilla of the cake. We watched the final of Wimbledon, balancing slices on our knees.