Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Bid Feasting Adieu


"When Christmas is ended, bid feasting adieu."


Happy New Year!
Health, Wealth and Happiness to one and all.

LINDA   I imagine this is how you used to present peacock to your grandchildren...?





Most of the Christmas clutter has been cleared away, some empty spaces filled with pots of hyacinths.     Owl Wood floor is covered with the spikes of snowdrops just waiting to emerge and yellow catkins dangle from the hazel trees.  The squirrels keep making forays into the garden, heading for the bird feeders.     They have been spotted by Sparky, but they are fully aware that she is trying to make herself invisible, as long as they don't forget, all will be well. 


By 8am this morning Toby and I were heading towards the watermill.     No matter what the season, it never disappoints. 




We took the same route as on my previous post, coming back through part of the slumbering village.

It wasn't slumbering last night, for by midnight there were whizz bangs and whooshes enough to rival those in London.      Twelve or thirteen years ago there were fireworks at the pub, but that was about it.    Over the years, it seems as though everyone has decided that they need to compete for the biggest bangs and the loudest whooshes...

I am still deeply immersed in the pile of books which I received for Christmas.   All bar one are second hand at the very least.    There are collected bundles of those old Victorian,  and first world war era, magazines which I enjoy so much, books about the effect the magazines had on the women who read them, another one about the lives of some of the women who wrote cook books, are you yawning already?    Explorations on a theme and a time which fascinates me.

For a bit of light relief, I have a brand new book, a gift from J and MingMing, Shark's Fin and Sichuan Pepper, by Fuchsia Dunlop.      A sweet-sour memoir of eating in China.   She made a vow  to eat everything she was offered, no matter how bizarre...   She is made of sterner stuff than me!

Talking of food, we are still using up the leftovers.   Homemade vegetable soup for tea -  thickened with a couple of blitzed, leftover jacket potatoes.   Crusty old bread diced up, sprinkled with olive oil and herbs, then turned in a pan until they become crisp and golden, a good handful of fresh parsley in the soup, a quick grate off a hard lump of cheese, and you have a meal fit for a king and so easy that even I can't go wrong.

Because of my passion for old cookery books, and books about the people who wrote them,  many people assume that I love cooking, they really couldn't be more wrong.    I do enjoy baking bread, but only when I am in the right mood.       Otherwise, I find that being expected to produce meal after meal after meal is tedious, to say the least. 

I am driven to produce good food to feed my family and friends, but that is not the same thing at all.  The years have seen me tied to producing far too many meals, for far too many people, it is no longer fun for me.

Adieu to the feasting!


How about you?     Do you enjoy cooking?   I would love to know.

I know several men who do enjoy cooking - Billy Blue Eyes for one, Cro is another, and of course there is my lovely neighbour and blogging friend, Dominic, another whiz in the kitchen.   



42 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. Did I say I enjoyed cooking? well maybe, love making cakes cooking curry and today we had roast beef for dinner though I admit my wife cooked the beef but it was a great dinner and no leftovers. Had a nice walk today along the local footpaths Happy New Year

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    2. Now you have me intrigued - whatever did you say in the first comment?! I had it filed away in my head that you rather enjoyed cooking, as well as being a dab hand at it, which is why I mentioned it. Enjoy your walks Bill, and a Happy New Year to you and yours.

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  2. How did you find that painting of me serving the peacock? I am quite elegant at Christmas as you can see, and quite youthful for being a senior citizen. My husband was always our accomplished chef, and I don't care much for cooking, especially now I am a widow. But I like have family over for feasts, such as peacock (giggle).

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    1. Hello Terra, You posed so beautifully, I was happy to be able to capture the moment! It is fun to enjoy the occasional feast with the family, peacock or no peacock... I imagine your chef would be proud of you for that. Happy New Year!

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  3. I'm like you, I have to be in the mood to enjoy cooking. Too many years of preparing meals every day of the week. I just don't enjoy ready-made or takeaway food so I continue to cook. At least Paul does some of the cooking at weekends.

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    1. Ready-made food may be convenient for some, but the taste and texture just can't compete with real food, can it. I think I have left it a bit too late to train my husband, darn it! Happy New Year.

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  4. Somewhere many years ago I came across a recipe for Peacock when some people we knew were having problems with noisy Peacocks so I gave them the recipe........don't know what happened next!

    I don't like cooking anymore but don't like bought ready meals either so have a slight dilemma.

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    1. It is so much easier when the home-grown vegetables and salads are available, isn't it! I totally agree about the ready meals, Sue, so they are not the answer. Big pots of soup work for me, they last for days and keep getting better with each bowl, but whatever you do, remember you are worth the effort.

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  5. I'm tired of cooking after almost 45 years of feeding a family. I feel like I've seen it all, cooked it all and eaten far too much of it all! Now it's back to just the two of us and don't cook big meals anymore except for the holidays.

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    1. Happy New Year, Jan. Sounds as though we are both at the same stage with cooking. It is nice to push the boat out, but only once in a while! Lovely to hear from you.

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  6. Happy New Year to you too Elaine. I enjoy baking when I'm in the mood. Strangely I don't think I could stomach peacock, just the thought of eating such a beautiful bird!!
    Have a wonderful January :)

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    1. Hello Prunella! How wonderful to see back in blogworld. It seems that a few hundred years ago peacock were raised for the table, in pretty much the same way that game birds are these days. Fair to say that the peacocks who live at the watermill are safe, I much prefer to admire their beauty as they roam the grounds.

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  7. For 53 years I have had to provide meals on a daily basis for family. Now I know that for the last 15 years there have only been two of us but my husband has a hearty appetite and as we are at home most of the time three meals a day have to be made. It is now just a chore, I do not derive any pleasure from cooking any more. My dream would be to have a full time cook and housekeeper but that ain't happening unless we win the lottery lol.

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    1. Hello maureen, That is an awful lot of meals! Add in the shopping, preparation, cooking and then clearing away, and it is no wonder that it loses its shine, is it? I'll cross my fingers for you to win that lottery!

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  8. That day after day of producing a meal is downright exhausting. The first thing I'm going to do when I win the lottery is hire a cook...and a cleaner.
    Peacock though.... I had forgotten all about it until you brought up fox sandwiches. That little boy is now 17 and 6 feet tall. Peacock is obviously a superfood!
    I would consider becoming a vegatarian but I'd still have to cook offal and fatty pig. Salads in the summer and soups in the winter. Sounds good to me.
    Eat to live....bahhhh not around here

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    1. More fingers crossed for you and your lottery, Linda! You never know, it could happen one of these days. I am always left breathless when I read about how much food and how many special occasions you have to cook for, I would have to run for the hills, especially when faced with all that offal and fatty pig, never mind the snails - either that, or I would pass out! Yes, I am definitely crossing my toes too, for this one, you deserve that cook and cleaner!

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  9. I'm on my own so now I tend to eat 2 meals a day and since I don't mind eating the same thing for a couple of days in a row I usually cook a batch of things on one day and then mix and match all week and supplement with eggs and salads.
    I give myself the summer off - only cook the occasional batch of chicken or fish and rely on salads, eggs and cold meats. By the time September rolls around I'm ready to get back in the kitchen.

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    1. You sound wonderfully well organised, Margie. I cook breakfast and tea for two grandchildren, plus our own meals. It makes me very happy to see them eat good food before/after school, but it does mean that I spend a lot of extra time in the kitchen that I hadn't factored into my retirement!

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  10. I enjoy cooking for anyone bar my husband, who eats frugally and who likes few foods - casserole to him is meat and gravy and that.is.IT! I blame his mother . . .

    Our three children are all keen cooks though, and have a good repertoire and I can still make something interesting when I'm entertaining, but baking is my main pleasure, as my friends will tell you!

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    1. Oh crumbs, that is very limited! Just as well your three don't restrict themselves like that...gold star to you, I reckon! Our SiL is similar, doesn't eat fruit or veg, it has been a real struggle getting the grandchildren to have their five a day.

      I imagine your baking is sublime, my own is much more it and miss!

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  11. Happy New Year.
    I think it can become a bit intense at this end of the year having to provide meals over Christmas - so I can understand that you are tired of it. I enjoy cooking but not if I am rushed and often I have a project on the go and to then have to turn my attentions to making a meal is frustrating.

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    1. It is quite demanding on the cooking front over the festive season. Still, 'tis done, and I think everyone went away pleasantly full and having had a good time and I imagine it was the same for you and yours.
      Happy New Year!

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  12. So interesting, that though you love old cookbooks, you do not love cooking itself. :-)

    I do not for sure. My husband does, so.... Since retirement, we have the perfect setup.

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    1. Lucky you! Happy New Year, wisps!

      The pleasure I get from those old books is imagining the story which is woven through and around them, the lives and circumstances of the women who wrote them.

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  13. I am also drawn to old cookbooks, but I swear I just love to read them, not try their recipes! I am the cook and for the most part, I enjoy it. Ther are times however when I just lack any motivation. On those days, it's nice to put on a pot of beans, or simmer a veggie soup. In Wyoming we used to cook a lot of rattlesnake hips, and chicken lips. It was a terrific meal plan! That could ad to your fox and peacock menu!

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    1. Rattlesnake hips and chicken lips - now on the menu plan for when school goes back next week. That will keep them guessing for a while and provide a little bit of the yuk factor which they love so much!
      I do use the occasional recipe from the old books, but only on the baking side of things. I often smile at the dishes which are presented as being vegetarian, but which require bones, or dripping, or some veal..
      Happy New Year!

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  14. I enjoy cooking - I particularly enjoy making a meal from whatever is at hand - in the garden, in the cupboards, like your delicious soup.

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    1. I confess that I do enjoy making summer meals around whatever I can harvest from the garden, the light freshness of it all, plus the low food miles! Happy New Year, Susan.

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  15. I enjoyed the Christmas dinner served up by my neighbours but if I hadn't been invited I would not have cooked anything. Consequently I enjoyed my Christmas lunch. Cooking and me don't get on now that I'm on my own. Joe had always insisted on taking me out for Christmas lunch, which I enjoyed, but I guess it made me rather lazy. Now, though, there seems no point bothering just for one.

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    1. Valerie, if you lived near here I would have invited you, too. Then you could have seen firsthand just how burnt my roast potatoes were, how soggy the sprouts - but you were spared! Well done those neighbours!
      ps You are always worth bothering about, you matter.

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  16. I used to enjoy cooking but currently I have a failing oven and no work surfaces so it has become a bit of a chore.

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    1. Crikey, yes, that makes it even more difficult, especially the oven...there's only so much that you can cook on the top of a stove. I hope it all gets resolved soon. Sorry to hear that the tenants have now broken the patio doors!

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  17. Elaine thank you so much for your words of comfort.

    Till yesterday I could not had the courage to do a homage post telling all my friends that my dear husband Carlos passed away.
    I am so very sad more than I can say. I can not believe that he never more will stay at my side and embrace me..

    I wish Elaine to you and your family a Happy 2019 with much, happiness, health and peace.

    Many hugs.

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    1. Hello Sonia, I cannot begin to imagine how difficult it must have been to write that post, but I hope it helped, even if it was just a little. My thoughts are with you and your family.
      Love,
      Elaine

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  18. I feed folk... that’s what I love to do. Over the years it is losing its appeal, I must admit. To me the planning and cooking is the joyous part, then people come along and scoff the lot and back to square one we go!

    LX

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    1. The difference is that you are good at it, Lettice. So good that you almost won the Masterchef crown one year, then went on to a job feeding many very special VIP's - and got paid for it! You are no ordinary cook.

      I hope those folk who spent the other evening with you, fully appreciate just how lucky they were - doggy bags by Lettice are better than hampers by Fortnums.xx

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    2. Thank you for your kind reply Elaine. I well remember elderly ladies saying to me how they couldn’t be bothered to cook, and thinking that will never happen to me. Well to be honest it is slowly creeping up! I look back now on the things I have done and marvel at just how I managed it?

      LX

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  19. I enjoy cooking on the weekend, because I can be a lazy cook the rest of the week and live on nothing but leftovers. I much more enjoy other people's cooking!

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    1. You, lazy? I don't think so. You are one human dynamo who works so hard that I find it difficult to believe that you stand still long enough to cook! Happy New Year!

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  20. Elaine,
    One of the bonuses of moving to this retirement home was dinner is served every night. My husband called it may second retirement - no more "what should I make for dinner?" for me. We have quite a choice of things including two soup choices that change every night, a chefs special and fish special every night and the overall menu changes about every 4 weeks. With my recovering here at home from gall bladder removal we order dinner to take out and Dan picks it up at 4, puts it in refrige for later. Tonight I'm having a kale salad with beets, butternut squash, brown rice and chicken. Dan has ordered taco salad. Last night we both had sweet and sour chicken. We also have a pub and a marketplace (sandwiches) which gives us other menu choices. Loving it!

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    1. Get well wishes from here, Marcia!
      I can well imagine how wonderful it must be to have all those choices, and no need for cooking, wonderful! I guess you chose your retirement home very carefully. Enjoy it to the max, I am sure you deserve it.

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Lovely to hear from you!