Thursday, 22 January 2015

Dear Julie and Julia

Dear Julie and Julia…or is it the other way round,

I watched your film today. The one where you, Julie, choose to work your way through your, Julia’s, cookbook. One word…or maybe two. Simply brilliant. Inspiring. As a 19 year old, currently on a gap year, aimlessly wandering her house wondering what to do with the next 7 months, this film has answered my questions. I will cook. As it happens, I spent two weeks at a cookery school just recently. Starting with a lasagne for two, two groups of budding chefs (and i) worked our way through a wonderful book of delicious recipes and ate beyond what we believed our stomachs could hold: more than once I insisted I would not eat again for days. I think the first time this was recited I jumped on a tube home and cooked myself a delicious burger…and more.

I've always known a kitchen. I've felt at home in a kitchen in one way or another for a long, long time. I have memories of being a lot younger, and smaller, than I am now and sitting in the kitchen of my Grandma’s bungalow on her tall, tall chair – or at least, a chair which at the time I believed to be tall – and waiting for whatever she happened to be cooking next. This was a time when bananas and custard was something I licked my lips over, no matter how many times I had it. Even now, having not had bananas and custard since those times, I still remember how much I enjoyed them. How excited I was to eat a bowl of yellow…stuff and the days before I became obsessed with chocolate puddings perhaps (if there was such a time).

Food is something that causes me both excitement and stress. When I know I love what I’m having or making, I have to really concentrate on not devouring it the minute it hits the plate, if not before. My dad suffers greatly from sloweatingitus – a rare but problematic condition which means that often by the time he’s sat down, had a sip of his wine and one mouthful of potato and put his knife and fork down for the first time of many throughout the meal, I (and often the rest of my family) have devoured our first helping and are attempting to hold out for seconds. This is not always the case, however, as this will only occur when I am confident of what my reaction will be to the food before me. The problems arise when I am presented with an alien plate, a dish I could neither recognize nor taste in my head…at this point I panic and find myself responding by dipping my fork the tiniest millimetre into it and then putting it to my tongue, a look of distrust and agitation written all over my face. To all those who have experienced this, I apologise profusely.

The point is, I know food. I am a lucky girl who has grown up in a house where everything that touches the plate is delicious. I've had the joy of eating fresh vegetables from our own garden…nothing to do with me (I have to make that clear in case my dad ever sees this letter you see). I’ve been surrounded by cooks since I can remember whether it be my mum, dad, brother, sister, grandma – although not so much now, sadly. If I had a reason to just cook all day every day with no concern over having to eat everything I make when I make it, I would. I’d love to just leap out of bed tomorrow morning and make something delicious followed by something else and so on. Yesterday, between getting home and eating one of my favourite meals cooked by my dad, I just decided, on the spur of the moment, to make a pesto – that’s what I do now you see, I make pesto.

That’s it. That’s all I really wanted to say. I basically wanted to tell you that I've moved from a strange obsession with bananas and custard to making pesto, just for fun, on a Wednesday evening….and I love it. I may not have a plan for the rest of this gap year but if there’s one thing I can be sure of, it’s that I’m going to cook, and my god, it’s going to be delicious!

Yours sincerely (and now rather hungrily),

No comments:

Post a Comment