Friday, 3 February 2012

February 3rd - Blue bread and blue cheese

Dear Nigel,

I was given a present today which cheered me up no end: dear little Olive's son had found me a jar of Mulberry jam. Lurking in a shop in cottage-box Stratford-upon-Avon, but absent here in "sunny" Buxton (which was -8 degrees this morning). I look forward to a jam i can chew slathered on some buttered toast. Thank you, Olive.

The cold shows no sign of abating. I get my thermals out and several layers of jumpers and refuse to move from my blanket. The kids and i spend the shortest of times plying the hungry cacophony of ducks and drakes in the park with homemade bread on the turn."Why can't we eat it if the ducks are allowed to?" they ask, not unreasonably. I don't know the ethics of feeding your children gone-off bread, but it's probably not the done thing. Perhaps the birds, though, could do with the small dose of penicillin (i think that's what's growing on the bread) to ward off any return of Bird flu?

We go to the chocolate shop,"Charlotte's", and they stare lovingly through the side window at the Willy Wonker Factory bit with molten chocolate oozing out of a tap and row upon row of tiny snowball-shaped chocolates laid out on the slab. We go inside and i buy them one chocolate each, which we sit and enjoy on a sinking leather sofa.

 The other week i gave in and took them to the old-fashioned sweet shop at the other end of town. They poured out their moneyboxes on the counter (most of which appeared to be plastic money and odd foreign coins), and chose a selection of white mice, jelly milk bottles etc. The interesting thing about this visit was that whilst they loved the whole display with its rows of jars on shelves, and choosing this and that and the other, when it came to taking them home and eating them,they enjoyed a handful but the ones that got left over for the next day and the next were left unwanted and untouched and thrown away in the end. I'm not sure that after the initial sugar-addicted outburst, children eat them because they actually want to. Too often we as adults eat mindlessly to get to the bottom of a packet of crisps or finish off the chocolate because we started it. When does it stop being something you are actually enjoying eating and become something else?

You are making a batch of Chicken patties with rosemary and pancetta. I think this a posh version of a burger but it sounds very nice anyway. It's good to have simple food after the excesses of Christmas. I like the idea of minced chicken with added oomph, and may follow your idea of sticking blue cheese inside to give that wicked richness of taste you get when you cut into it.The children won't eat the blue cheese - they don't know what they're missing. I imagine the conversation already, running along the lines of "Why is it OK for you to eat blue cheese and not us to eat the blue bread?" I haven't formulated my answer to that one yet. One of those impossible to answer questions that children are so good at asking when you're trying to deal with a complicated form or park the car.


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