Food for friends: 14th-20th January

posted Jan 24, 2012, 7:01 AM by Dinner Lady   [ updated May 10, 2012, 1:31 AM ]
A week before the Christmas holidays Herman came to stay. We liked him, he was easy to look after, feeding only occasionally. Undemanding, yet so giving.  But we had to give him away to friends when we went to stay with my parents.  We missed him, and happily he returned to us last week. Herman is our sourdough mix which makes a German friendship cake. Passed on by a friend to me and two of his friends, then from me to three of my friends, and so on. Everyone keeping one portion behind to turn into the most delicious and moist spicy apple cake. Maths Geek and The Naughty Knight were fascinated by the new addition to the family. When I introduced them they reacted to the frothy bubbly mixture much as they might to an unfamiliar dog. Curious, friendly, yet slightly on guard.  When Herman was cooked, cries of "But Mummy we killed him, we killed him!" rang out.  And when I asked The Naughty Knight not to poke the delicious cake he had transformed into, he protested "But Herman is dead".  And there ensued a conversation about respecting the dead.  

As I feed Herman his cups of milk, flour and sugar every few days,  I marvel at how the bubbles emerge.  Just when you are not looking he creeps up the sides of the bowl, hoping to join us.  The warming and comforting yeasty waft is such a lovely way to be greeted when I enter the kitchen.   I like to think about the person who started Herman off, and whether they know just how many friends have enjoyed Herman along the way.  Friends and food are so intertwined. Dinner parties, food parcels for friends in need, the giving and receiving of elegant boxes of chocolates.  Friendship cake.  The meeting at cafes for coffee and pastries.  
This week I was reminded by a friend that Seville oranges were in season.  I rushed to our local grocer and bought several kilos of these strange fruit. So juicy and sweet to look at, yet how surprisingly sour to taste.  Mrs Doubtfire and I spent a zen like day (and long evening) making marmalade on Thursday.  Squeezing the juice, depithing and slicing the peel, watching for that magical moment when it reaches a "set",  was a wonderfully methodical activity that enabled us to take a deep breath and unclutter our minds.  A marvellously calming venture that helped us get to know each other again.  It rekindled our friendship after six months of passing like ships in the night; six months of talking mainly about the immediate necessity of fatigue reduction, nappies, breastfeeding, sleep strategies, school run and the boys' damage limitation.  Now we have a ledge full of these pots of golden sunshine which we will pass on to our friends we are visiting this weekend, a token of our friendship.  

 rotten or gone off - none! 

left on our plates - too much - every meal time a couple of tsp off The Naughty Knight’s plate; several tsp of Princess Baby’s mush and finger food

left overs I have forgotten to use up - none!

Better than last week, for sure. Need to stop serving so much onto plates....


Carry forward           £187.90

Supermarket             £10.20
Local grocer            £28.13
Vegetable box           £25.90
Butcher                 £19.00

Total January so far    £271.13