Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Comfort and microwaves

The cold weather and snow of the past few weeks has had me thinking about food.

I love it. From salty olives and strong blue cheese to a simple slice of toast, it plays a huge role in my life. It's not simply a functional thing for me. Cooking centres me, the process of making and doing and laying a table gives me great contentment.

I love to have friends here to eat. A simple supper on New Year's Day of baked ham and mashed potatoes was wonderful, shared with friends laughing and reminiscing. The two or three hours of tidying and pottering, listening to BBC Radio 4, just stumbled by without me noticing. I like feeding other people. I like making them happy and bringing them together. Sharing.

One of the best gifts someone can share with me is to set the table, light a candle, and let me drink a glass of wine while they cook. It is a thoughtful act of caring. It is so elementary and still feels so special. When someone cooks for me I feel privileged and loved. I appreciate this gift not just for the food, but for the chatter and moments of quiet creativity (or burnt hilarity) of a Sunday evening when the real world is being held at bay.

Whether I'm cooking for myself, for a crowd, a lover or dining out in celebration with family it will always be a vehicle for conversation, satisfaction, pleasure and comfort.

I wish we could ban the microwave meal.

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