Saturday, 8 February 2014

comfort food miles

It's blowing a hoolie outside today and the rain is pretty much horizontal. To cheer us all up, B has taken himself in to the kitchen and lovingly crafted us a roast dinner followed by a pudding of home-made chocolate mousse. In wine glasses.

Get us.

The chocolate mousse experiment was triggered by the Great Chocolate Mousse Meltdown of last week, in which I sent him on a foraging mission to the Co-Op and he came back with Chocolate Souffle instead. I'm not exactly *proud* of the crying jag which that triggered. But surely, it wasn't unexpected? Mousse is mousse and souffle is souffle and never the twain shall meet. Or something.

Anyway. Moving swiftly on*. It was all delicious and we got chatting about food miles over the meal.

The most miles were from the chicken; it had started life here in the incubator, spent a few months in the garden and then a few more two miles down the road at Ma's, until it went to slaughter in Taunton, eight miles away and came back oven-ready. The potatoes were from a farm about a mile away, bought by the big bag. And the roasted carrots and squash were from my friend in the village, traded for eggs.

It was proper comfort food and when B and Leo waltzed out of the kitchen and put the food down in front of us, we all took a moment just to gaze, before we fell face down on to our plates. Even Nenna ate something - off of her new Charlie and Lola plate set, brought by the ladies from the hospice when they visited on Monday. And she asked for seconds of the chicken. The mousse didn't go down so well - she was clearly delighted at having been given a grown-up glass like the rest of us; but didn't really want to eat it. So it's back in the fridge for me, later.

I think that we forget how good preparing food for loved ones and friends can make us feel; and on the other hand, how nice it can be to be on the receiving end of a meal that someone has taken time and effort to prepare. My friends at Legglands Orchard posted on facebook this morning, apologising for the price of their marmalade. But I think that when we work out the time that goes in to making proper food, actually, we should be asking how the supermarkets are able to charge so little rather than why small producers charge so much.

I do appreciate that we don't all have time to prepare food from scratch every day; and that we don't always even have the money to spend on the ingredients. But it's an option for most of us, some of the time at least. And when we do it, or people do it for us, we should remember to value the time put in to it, both in the preparation and the eating.

*As we did at the time. Honestly.


  1. Try this next time you have a yearning for chocolate mousse. It scales down to a normal family size, and is very lovely.

  2. I know what you mean about the 'crying jag' I have shouting fits when I get all knotted up. I'm making a pud with just 4 ingredients from HF-W's book; condensed milk, cream, lemons, ginger nuts, can't remember what it's called, ginger pud or something. (thanks for the Legglands Orchards link). Lx

  3. Preparing and sharing food, especially if it is from your own plot or local, is one of the bonds of family and community life. Something I have re-learnt since relocating here. It's important, enjoy.

  4. As Ian has already said, the sharing of meals is a tremendous bond which I don't think we appreciate as a society. The pizza my eldest is making us for lunch contains so much more than the ingredients.