Tuesday, 3 July 2012

In which I eat, and am smug about it

I am a big fan of Pip McCormac’s brilliant blog, Cook the Books. It’s a simple enough premise: he takes a cookery book and creates a meal from it, following the recipes precisely as instructed. Which, when you think about it, is actually rather brilliant. Because despite the shelves Chez Nous absolutely groaning with everything from Ad Hoc to Plenty via Saturday’s purchase of Tom Parker Bowles’ latest, as well as the entire back catalogue of cookery books written by The Writer’s mother, including her brand new, imminent (and THIRTEENTH. Clearly the overachiever characteristic is hereditary) release, I can’t remember the time I stuck precisely to a recipe. It rarely happens in our house where, upon starting a new creation, we inevitably have forgotten a crucial ingredient / can’t be bothered to go to the complicated lengths required / think we know better than the experts.

But Pip’s latest post, cooking from Kitchen and Co by French and Grace struck a chord for an entirely different reason.

“I’m just queuing for the latest must-have marshmallow,” people merrily tweet, congratulating themselves on snaffling out the latest fashionable foodie secret, the post-recessionary equivalent of a Mulberry bag.


[French and Grace] are getting write ups everywhere… all lauding them for their skills at combining flavours to create something truly amazing, and for turning their tiny supper club (so now!) into a tiny cafe in South London (even more now!)

Oh holy mackerel.

To say that’s me to a tee might be under-egging the clafoutis.

I’ve been known to tweet pictures of plates of incredible tangy goats’ curd and fresh, crunchy broad beans, eaten at, er, tiny cafés in South London – complete with Instagramesque vintage filters. A typical Saturday morning for TW and I involves a trip to the favourite grocer for vegetables and herbs; to the little wine merchant in Brixton for a bottle of something recommended by David, the owner (this week’s was a “Beaujolaisish” something I have now forgotten. Bloody tasty, though); and then to the newly opened branch of Cannon and Cannon for the week’s cheese (or Paxton and Whitfield if we’re in town).

The less said the better about the fact we now have the number for The Bread Room pinned up in the kitchen: such is the lure of their olive and rosemary bread that we now call ahead first thing in the morning to reserve our loaf before they sell out. I know. I know. And it’s probably not a good thing that I feel a sense of satisfaction when I open the Times on a Saturday to see that Horrid Giles hasn’t yet discovered the current favourite restaurant, thus ruining our enjoyment by making it entirely impossible ever to get a table. Or that office lunch is less often a limp Pret sandwich than it is chargrilled courgette and Parmesan salad with pinenuts or something of its ilk.

Might run out and buy Tesco's bargain sushi out of pure smugguilt, said a friend on Twitter as we shared a “Christ, I do wish people wouldn’t actually put down in black and white how insufferable we are” moment.

She’s a genius: smugguilt is precisely the word. There’s guilt at the levels of smugness achieved by making your own guacamole for lunch, or knowing your artisan baker by name, and more guilt when direct attention brought to the obsession feels more than a little uncomfortable. But then the smug kicks in, and frankly you don’t care because, as Pip says, other than the enchanting sensation of devouring delicious dinners, that smugness is what the new foodie obsession is really all about.


Anonymous said...

I don’t love food because it’s trendy or social, I do it because it’s tasty, and it’s been in my blood since the womb. Anyone who derides my penchant for goats curd or Isle Of Mull cheddar can f*** off and choke on an over-salted Asda microwave meal.

Smidge said...

I'm just glad people are a) cooking again and b) buying from local suppliers. Nothing smug about shopping local, well apart from the fact we can afford to do so...

Pip (of Cook the Books) said...

I don't think there's anything wrong at all with being at the forefront of the foodie revolution - it's a wonderful thing to love and to enjoy. I just think it's odd how much we're all embracing it right now, and the way it's helping to shape a new movement. I say let's embrace it - if it means I can get my hands on artisanal Scotch Eggs I'm very, very happy

Blonde said...

Anon: I admire your enthusiasm, and am inclined to agree.

Pip: Hello! Loving your work. You are right about the 'movement', such as it's becoming. Although, as you say, if it makes everyone raise their game, then that can only be a good thing.

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

Horrid Giles is by far my favourite Coren moniker.

I'm down with the posh foodie cheese and wine. (as long as someone else is paying. My budget's more Sainsbury's own at the moment).

Blonde said...

PDEWYMO: It was the only thing I could think to call him that didn't involve an expletive. And MORE cheese, I say. Always more cheese.

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