Archive for March, 2010

I woke up this morning with a burning desire to make Chilli con Carne.

This isn’t a dish I have ever made before or eaten many times so the sudden impulse was surprising. Sure, I’ve had plenty of average chilli slopped over rapidly softening nachos but it has never been more than a bar snack or an overly heavy starter in a naff Mexican restaurant. Chilli has not meant a great deal to me and I have not meant a great deal to chilli.

The only reason I suddenly needed to make chilli, I realised as I ran my finger down the index of my Good Housekeeping 101 simple suppers (thanks Grandma), is because I stayed up until three in the morning reading The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit and at about the point where I could keep my eyes open no longer Tom Rath ate a bowl of Mexican chilli in a dingy restaurant on Sixth Avenue. Better food bloggers than I eat according to the seasons but I eat according to my bookshelf.

It all started with Enid Blyton and a passion for tinned fruit, if not tongue, that I have never managed to shake off. I am ashamed to say I prefer tinned fruit to fresh and I am sure one day my supplies of peaches will sustain me through an adventure on an island frequented by smugglers.

My long and at times rather serious adolescence was characterised by fixations with certain authors, the most sombre of which was Zola. The epic French feasts described were really the only high points in what was otherwise a bit of a misery-fest. Sure, these peasants were trapped in prisons of despair but when they took a break from prostitution, murder and falling off roofs they knew how to eat.

Kingsley Amis’ Lucky Jim is the reason I drink to excess frequently. Patrick Hamilton introduced me to the joys of Gin and French. I didn’t know what Plovers’ eggs were until I read Brideshead Revisited. Turkish Delight, well that’s a bit of an obvious one.

Maybe this could be my overarching narrative: books and food. I eat my way through the classics. Right, chilli’s ready and I need to fix myself a martini.


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