Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Clean slates and baglust.

I've been a bit useless. I think if I had a more regular life I'd be better at the blogging thing. I do enjoy it, but I haven't had a great deal of time recently. Not enough time to think about things deeply enough. I've written bits and pieces in my journal, but nothing very much on here. I haven't read a great deal that has excited me and I haven't had any great cultural experiences. Mostly, I've been eating, sleeping, spending time with people I love and making things for people I care about. I'm making Carl a cookery book for his birthday. His email asking for it went as follows:

Subject: For myyy birthdaaayyy

You can get me some sex! Not, you know, directly, but through referred

I cook, occasionally, and most of what could be deemed impressive
knowledge has come from you (eg, frying veg with cumin or chilli flakes,
veg chilli, ubercrispycake, frying salmon...). But I keep having to ask,
cause my filing system is flawed, so I think to save the frequent
lunchtime emails to you getting the information again, here's what you
could do:

If you write down in a hardback notebook or something the recipes for
things that suit my particular cooking limitations...
including all the stuff I should already know but probably have
simplified in my head to be not quite as good as they originally were...

So stuff like:
veg chilli,

Anything else you can think of that's easy and doesn't take too long
(cause it'll take me twice as long as you) and can be carried out by
someone relatively clever but not at all good at multitasking and
generally mentally slowed by a day at work.

This will be an awesome thing you could do that no-one else can. :¬)



I can't work out whether this is a present for him or just him being nice to me. He DOES ask me for cooking things sometimes, and putting those things together in a good way is something I can do. I cook for and with him on a something approaching weekly basis [exciting aside: will be more often if we DO end up living together, but that's a whole other story...] - nothing very dramatic, just ordinary things that I like to eat, that fill me up and are reasonably healthy and (important) quite cheap. But I'm so flattered to be asked. I like that it means that Carl likes the food I cook, and the fact that he has gone so far as to ask me to write down my recipes so that he can use them himself has given me one huge warm fuzzy glow. For the record, the boy is a perfectly acceptable cook, he just doesn't really get excited about food in the same slightly obsessive way that I do. This is not a bad thing. Anyway. Thanks, Carl. :-)

I like making things that people enjoy eating and that I enjoy eating. Something of the mother in me, I guess. Or just something of the instant gratification of seeing people enjoying what I make. I love food, and I like to share things that excite me with my friends, so that they can be excited about it too. In reality, I don't know THAT many people that are excited by dried beans or peculiar Mexican herbs (at least ones that you can't smoke), but when I make them into things I like to think that people begin to see the point. And everyone can be excited by interesting sorts of chocolate and things you can do with that.

If I ask you if I can turn up at your house and cook you dinner, it really isn't me doing you the favour but me asking you for the favour. Just a warning, though, if I ever cook for you: I am possessive of my kitchen, even if it's your kitchen. I'm very, very bossy when it comes to cooking. Comes of caring about it, I guess. I'm better behaved than I used to be, which is a product of knowing more people who really care about cooking. If I'm in your kitchen getting in the way or genuinely being nagging or jumping to change things, REALLY don't feel bad about telling me to go next door and not get involved, or to attach me to the sink and the washing up by a short leash. That way, I can't annoy you by leaning over your shoulder and going 'I think it needs some chilli and lemon juice' (the two things I usually consider ANY dish to be in need of). Do not let me patronise you, I don't mean to, I just get over-enthusiastic.

I like the fact that I can cook something every day, so disasters get written over and I can forget about them and move on. Any cringeworthy mistakes can be anhilated with successes, or just by the sheer volume of non-disasters. This is important...I need to be able to overlay bad errors with better achievements. I'm dependent on past experiences for current self esteem. Does everyone have that? I'm fine provided the LAST thing I did, in any area of my life, wasn't one I'm ashamed of. There are many things in my life I'm ashamed of, but provided the LAST one in any given category went ok, then I'm ok. I'm stuck if the last thing in a category is the Last Thing, and I can't over-write it. THAT is the point when my self-esteem takes a permanent knock and I look to see if I can re-assign categories to overlap the one where I failed. Sometimes I can and sometimes I can't. In food, I can. Always. I eat every day, and I cook meals for people regularly enough that I can overlay food memories. At least in MY head, which is what matters for this purpose.

Moral: Things that could be regarded as repetitive can be incredibly satisfying. It's probably a life lesson, if only for me.

In other news, I have developed an obsession with this bag. I want the green version* but it appears to be out of stock. There's an offer for the People Tree in this Guardian article. Such things are dangerous. I thoroughly approve of the People Tree. They make beautiful clothing (they even have and outlet via Topshop), and they have ethics I'd love to be able to afford to endorse more in my clothing shopping - fair trade and responsibly sourced from organic cotton. Everyone knows garment workers are some of the most poorly paid in the world, and cotton is one of the world's most chemically treated crops. Wikipedia says that it uses 'approximately 25% of the world's insecticides and 10% of the world's pesticides', which is more or less what I've heard elsewhere. So if possible, I'd like to support the People Tree. BUT, I can't afford to until after the end of the month (cars are very expensive things, this month). And I have a SEVERE case of baglust. BUT, even after the end of the month, I mostly need summer tops, not new bags. *sigh*. But all of my 3 readers, YOU should all go and look at the People Tree website and see what you think. I reckon they're close to the most affordable of the ethical clothing outlets out there, not that I've conducted exhaustive research, and they're doing an important job.

*I ALWAYS want the green version


  1. Yup, cheaper than Howies. But slightly different stock so probably actually about the same. I like howies they make nice jumpers :)

  2. You shouldn't incite me to go places like that. The People Tree may be good for the planet, but not for my pocket book. And cars are indeed expensive things this month.

    I think I might need to hang around you for a while. Maybe I'd pick up on some of that desire to cook. Current level: none.