The Bank Holiday weekend was all about jam for me. Our computer monitor broke on Friday night and we didn’t get a replacement until Wednesday, shattering my plans to catch up on emails, write an overdue report for work, and finish some research for a project. Instead, jam-making came to the rescue, and I’m now the proud home preserver-mother of jars of simple, sweet raspberry jam; lemon marmalade; rhubarb and strawberry butter; and kumquat and passion fruit marmalade (exotic, fragrant, unusual). The first three recipes are from Thane Prince’s Perfect Preserves; the latter is from Diana Henry’s Salt Sugar Smoke. I was deeply resistant to buying preserving books for a long time, but now I feel something of a bug coming on. I recently purchased Kylee Newton’s The Modern Preserver and now have a Do Preserve kind of feeling…
Moving on, I’ve recently discovered The Angry Chef blog – a blog that claims to expose lies, pretensions and stupidity in the world of food. There is a lot of all three out there – I tend to avoid media outlets and blogs on the ‘lies and stupidity’ spectrum, but pretension is pretty difficult to avoid. The writer is a self-proclaimed balding, middle-aged chef with ‘a mind trained in scientific investigation’, which means his writing is clear, logical and well thought out. But it’s also just really funny. The blog first came to my attention with the post ‘An unfashionable defence of convenience
‘ – read it if you’ve ever felt slightly guilty about feeding yourself/your partner/your kids/anyone food out of a packet, even though you’re absolutely shattered and the only way you can hold on to your sanity is through the microwaveable ready meal in your shopping bag. A recent post on ‘The Irritating Superstars of Health and Fitness’ has sent the blogosphere/ Twittersphere/ foodiesphere on fire. However, the post I shared with my decidedly non-foodie boyfriend was ‘Has anyone seen my Ayurvedic tongue scraper?’, a savagely funny, yet at heart deeply concerned, take-down of the glossy, photogenic advocates of cleaning eating, whose diets of choice are centred on the unecessary elimination of food groups the vast majority of people are perfectly fine eating. Particularly in his sights in this article are Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley, whom he criticises for their promotion of the comtroversial, dubious GAPS diet. In addition to being informative and intelligent, it’s a darkly humourous piece that absolutely skewers his subjects.
Let’s leave things on an equally funny, but considerably frothier, note. I’ve been a regular reader/dipper into and out of Rhik Samadder’s slightly whimsical Inspect a Gadget columns in The Guardian. Samadder reviews kitchen gadgets from the outer realms of probable need (even from the perspective of a dedicated kitchen-clutterer like myself), from a self-heating butter knife to his take-down of the Egg Master, which is a bit of a classic and has turned many an idle reader of the column into a rabid fan. In short: he goes there so you don’t have to. Fun stuff, and the below the line comments, rarely for a Guardian article, are equally joyful.