Tuesday, January 13, 2009

No more take-out

I still feel guilty that I was barely in London over my last trip but, because of the emotional turmoil and various illnesses in my family, I wanted to spend more time at home in the deepest, darkest countryside in Northamptonshire (about an hour & a half from London). I ended up driving down the hideous M1 just three times to the city and, although I got to see all my brilliant godchildren, my very pregnant cousin and a handful of my best friends and their infants, I wish I had had more opportunity to just hang rather than flit in and out of people’s lives.

Still, I had a lovely time with my mother (once we stopped our traditional fighting – two days after I arrived, we had such a huge blow up at Bicester Village Outlet Centre that she refused to get in the car with me & I drove home without her. Oops). But, once we cleared the air, we got back to our normal roles - me: scattering of possessions throughout the house; Muv: shouting at me to tidy them away before the whippets made off with them.

I cooked most nights on my mother’s incredible pro range playing Ready, Steady, Chef in the fridge and conjuring bowls of deliciousnesss out of random ingredients; we watched all the DVRd Christmas telly we had missed (How shockingly bad was Jonathan Creek?)and worked our way through the 4.5KG (9lb) tin of Quality Street sweeties on the larder shelf. (And discovered that my utterly bloody sister had thieved every single chocolate-covered caramel finger before she went back to London. Evil little bugger.)

Now that I am back in New York and have all the time in the world again, I feel inspired by my Christmas cooking, and am cooking twice a day. Last year I had a breakfast almost every day at Balthazar or Pastis, and often a work dinner too at some restaurant or other. And if I wasn’t pressing the flesh, I was eating endless take out at my desk. One day I tipped up my keyboard and grains of rice fell everywhere. A definite sign that one can eat too much takeaway food. All wrong. I am determined that 2009 will be the year of cooking - and eating - proper food. (Apart from the odd excursion to my favourite Manhattan restaurant, Bobo.)