Thursday, 23 July 2009

Communal Cooking

Cooking alone is therapy, evoking both a linear and a horizontal thought process. This is when my mind finds peace and a clarity of thought. Like a pot of boiling water the gentle, quiet simmer of everything churning that keeps me up at night rises to the top, separating itself from everything else. Now that it is isolated, it becomes visible. It has a face, and a name, and most importantly, a place, no longer a floating nomad in limbo. It is a time for escapism, when nothing else exists outside of a 65 cm radius around me. It is the construction of a small-scale universe that comes with its own set of a small scale past, present and future tense. It has a beginning, middle and an end. Sometimes it all runs smoothly, at others it all goes wrong. There may be challenges ahead, but also conquers of doubts and fears manifested in an egg that’s hard to poach, a bread that wont rise or a sinking wreck of a cake.

Cooking alone is my commodity product.

The end of July is near, to translate from Italian this means everyone is wrapping up in preparation for shutting down the country in August. These are the final days of lectures, and a general the end is nigh atmosphere is in the air. Chef and owner of Bristol’s Bordeaux quay, Barney Haughton, was a visiting lecturer for a two-day seminar. Instead of frontal lectures we were given the task to prepare a vegetarian based group lunch. A single workstation was allocated for the 24 of us at the adjacent renowned Italian cookery school, sans air conditioning, during a typical, mosquito infested, scorching hot Parmesan July day. No meat, no fish, no space to work, no air conditioning, no time and no known budget, BUT love and passion to food in what turned out a surprisingly relaxed affair. Local and seasonal ingredients were transformed into a Technicolor display of dishes. Along with 9 bottles of wine.I will miss this.

Cooking together is a whole different experience.

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