Monthly Archives: November 2014

Thank you, considerate man-shaped person!

I was walking the hound through the park this evening – wide path, but very dark (no lights here), and woods on both sides, nobody in sight. I wasn’t carrying a torch, because I like night, and there was enough ambient city-light for me to see where I was going. Suddenly a man-shape looms out of the darkness ahead of me, and a guy in running gear walks towards me, and as he passes me says “I’m going to be charging back up here in a minute. I just wanted to tell you so you didn’t think I was chasing you.”

My first response was ‘Oh, no worries’, but then it clicked just what he’d said so I turned and called ‘Thank you!’.  Seriously, thank you, man-shaped person, for considering my need to feel safe and unthreatened. For appreciating that what you are doing (sprinting along an unlit path through the woods), whysoever you are doing it, could, through no fault of your own, cause a lone female (admittedly with a large dog) to feel startled and unsafe. More of this consideration, please, men! And less of the ‘Well OBVIOUSLY I’m not a rapist/mugger so I should just be able to go running at night without explaining myself’ defensiveness.

About thirty seconds later I did hear pounding footsteps behind me, and he did charge past me at full sprint. And if he hadn’t warned me, it would certainly have alarmed me. But it was fine, and I shared a joke with him as he walked back past me to do it all over again. So again, thank you for making sure my evening walk was worry free.

You scared the shit out of the dog though 😉


Feeding the myth. Well, the tellers of the myths, anyway.

Once upon a time, I cooked a big old Homity Pie (a homity is a special beast, easily caught, and tasting of garlic, potatoes and parsley – if you put it in a pie with some cheese, it’s truly delicious). And as that pie was cooling on the stove top, a storyteller came to see me. And she saw the pie, and she smelled the pie (but she did not taste the pie, for she was on a no-pie diet), and she said “Hot damn girl, that’s good! Will you do the catering for my next course?” Or words to that effect.

Long table laid for lunch, with salads and a big Homity Pie

Homity Pie and salads for lunch

So I did, and have done most years since. I love cooking, and feeding people, and I made sure these storytellers under my care were well looked after. Vegetarian, vegan, dairy free, gluten free, sugar free, kosher – bring me your diets and I will feed you.  Since learning (on the fly) to cater for other people, I have learned a lot – about cooking (mashed kidney beans will thicken a stew without the need for flour), about food (most food labelled ‘Gluten free’ still has maize starch in, and this includes stock cubes), about myself (I either need to strengthen my arms or remember to take an electric whisk next year). I realised what I’ve always suspected, but never felt confident enough to say: I am a fucking good cook.

Shortcrust pastry mushroom pie ready for serving

I will even cook things I detest – like mushrooms. I was told this mushroom pie was pretty fine

I take hospitality very seriously. My motto, if I really ever have one, is ‘to heal with food and love’. I don’t subscribe to how ’emotional eating’ is such an evil – the right food can heal most hearts. I make all my food with love, even a Tuesday night cheese-toasties dinner, and every meal is a gift to those it feeds. How do you show love with food? Presentation. Which would make you feel more special, a bowl of soup, or a bowl of soup with a swirl of cream and a pinch of fresh herbs on top? It takes seconds, but it shows you care.  Even if you can’t cook, just presenting your burnt offering nicely makes all the difference to the recipient.

Long wooden table in large old kitchen, laid with a pile of plates, bowls of fruit, leftover dessert and a chocolate cake

Late night snacks, come and get some. Yes, that includes a fresh chocolate cake. Because I like to spoil people.

Through popular demand, there will be a cookbook from all this. If you really want to know about that chocolate cake though, it’s already here 🙂