Reading List (17/5)

The best pizza in the world. For our next eating trip. I love how the ingredients are all locally sourced, supporting the local economy, and how they’re growing wheat specifically for the pizza bases. (Thanks Jen!) And as a contrast, making your own pizza at home. The comments section is, quite frankly, just hilarious, and illustrative of some of the snobbery associated with culinary capital.

And keeping things Italian – Rachel Roddy’s chocolate almond cake and her list of kitchen essentials. 

What do people think of the decision to close the BBC recipe website? Is there something to be said about the need to preserve such recipe collections?

I’m reading another Sarah Moss novel (I am on a roll). This time it is Bodies of Light. So far, it is all dark Victoriana, tumultuous mother-child relationships and slums. I am loving it.

A tour of the White House Kitchen Garden.

I’ve just read a few academic articles on foodie tourism, which I hadn’t realised is a) a thing and b) I am possibly guilty of participating in. But if you’re way ahead of the game and plan all your travelling around food, here is a list of festivals and events you might want to add to your radar. If I could, I’d go to the national cherry festival.

Women in kitchens in Mexico.

Grief, patience and endurance. This is such a great article about cultivating resilience in the face of trauma.  After losing her mother in a violent attack in Afghanistan, Samira Thomas writes: ‘In that time, it [the grief] looked a lot like a disease to me, one that I had to cure quickly. I have since come to realise that haste to recoil, to return to original form after trauma, constitutes another form of violence. I found no peace in the rush.’ There is a tendency, I think, after great trauma and grief, to long for a return to wholeness, when the world was not painful and simmering behind a curtain of grey fog – to return to the person you were before. Thomas captures understanding that this is not truly possible by reading the poet Hafiz, and through reading, comes to regard the grief as a ‘process of becoming’.

A wonderful essay on how to find your place in the world by listening to your soul. And this advice, to embrace the deep desires of your heart and go for it now.

This fantastic restaurant, that is a family business, practicing sustainability. I love the story about the oyster shells!

Should the state be responsible for feeding children in the school holidays?

Ruby Tandoh has written a brilliant article for Vice, on health and wellness. She writes from personal experience about finding ‘wellness’ and how it left her unwell. She talks frankly about the dangers of excluding whole food groups from our diets, noting that the one thing nutrition science is clear on is variety. ‘Nutrition is an impossibly complicated and contested field, and rarely do we agree upon what is and is not good for us. In the absence of certainty, the safest and arguably most healthy approach to nutrition falls back on variety – of food groups, macronutrients, ingredients. When cure-all good health is promised via the exclusion of whole food groups, that might be to go against the grain of one of the few nutritional sureties we have.’ She links to the moralising of food discourse which has become so prevalent in British society in recent years – the ‘goodness’, ‘cleanliness’ or ‘purity’ of certain foods which then transforms other foods into things impure, unclean or bad and then also transforms the eater of such foods into someone impure, unclean, dirty or morally wanting. [I investigated that Tandoh mentions in the article. The posts there are all from 2014, and the author comes from a family with a history of coeliac disease. Nevertheless, I particularly enjoyed the second thing I saw on the site, a recipe for ‘easy gluten free roast chicken’. Recipes like that make me want to bang my head against a desk because obviously, roast chicken is gluten free unless you choose to stuff it with a bread-based stuffing…] You can read about orthorexia (where you develop unhealthy obsessions with ‘healthy’ foods) here.

And on the topic of balance, these lemon squares.