Thursday, February 18, 2010

Starting Out in the Kitchen

The reason I've never done a food blog, although I've always kept an informal food journal in long-hand, is because I very much feared it could take over. That, and there are too many. And, of course, I'm not one for food photography. But I think it'll bring me too much pleasure not to carry on.

Now, the name. In the grand tradition of Blogspot '10, this wasn't my first choice. But when all was said and done, it was this or "Cold Shape," and while I liked the ambiguous possibilities of the latter, it was simply too unappetizing. Plus, I don't exactly revel in aspic, whereas I do love pudding. The title was, in fact, suggested by an exchange my fiance, M, had with a friend recently. The friend asked what the secret to my happiness was. "Easy," said M. "Sweet puddings when she's sad, and savory puddings when she's happy." And he did mean American-style spoon food, not just "dessert" as the Brits would have it.

That said, "Queen of Puddings" is a venerable British nursery sweet (pictured above) made with jam, sponge and meringue.

This is actually bad timing because yesterday, in an incensed-induced fit of intemperate enthusiasm, despite not being Christian, I decided while at Smoky Mary's of 46th street Solemn Mass to do Lent up right and forswear all indulgences and possibly just have broth for dinner although that part I'm not sure about. Anyway, they're always doing dramatic high-church fasts in Barbara Pym (who loved food) so I figured what's good enough for Pym etc. Besides, I plan on making myself a fantastic Easter basket with which to break the fast. Was already tempted by this huge slab of toffee (with hammer) they have at Carry on Tea and Sympathy. But I resisted, and feel very virtuous. I was undecided as to whether the banana-bran muffin I had for breakfast (with some orange, and coffee, and a soft-boiled egg) counted as a sweet, but I have to use up the batch (M doesn't like banana) and besides, it's pretty leaden and awful so eating it hardly qualifies as an indulgence.

Right Now: I am making some chicken soup. I have good broth left over from a chicken savoyarde I made for a Saturday night dinner (wouldn't do it again, less while ill) so I just sweated some onion and carrot in skimmed schmaltz, added broth and thyme and the remains of a roast chicken carcass, and that's all simmering merrily away. Will add shredded meat soon, and I'm convoinced the only secret is plenty of salt anyway. I'll probably have some for lunch, maybe a salad too involving a little cold roast squash.

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