We were in France, Patsy and I, and a circus truck drove through the small town. We were shoe shopping. I ran into the still heat of lunchtime. Later, the sun set turgid and still over yellow hayfields. We walked through the town, queued with small children alongside giant thistles. There was a llama. And some horses. It was the first time my mother took me to the circus. I was 28 years old.
Actually, it was really lovely and funny. But the photo doesn’t suit that, does it. For this 6 week meander, I decided to take a disposable camera. The photos are really interesting - most of them awkward, dusty. This is my fav.
So out of the four manuscripts I’ve been working on, The Food Diary has come out as the winner for Next Book :)
Basically, what happened is this: The Mess
A friend Jono and I ran a pop up restaurant, before all that popping up started happening all over the world. The experience was intense, but so was the question: what can I (italics) cook? I have good taste - I mean that in the sensory sense - but I was never interested in waiting for the oven to get to the right temperature, or how much of what when how. The result was a 50/50 batting rate. Despite knowing exactly what is in a dish if i taste it (and what could be added/taken out etc) my food was 50% disaster and 50% success.
My mother Patsy is a cook in the Caribbean. My father did a cordon bleu course for fun. My parents can COOK. How come I never learnt? Definitely laziness, some capable and loving boyfriends, and an absolute love for eating out.
So, I started a Food Diary. And decided to add my love life in at the same time. The recipes are related to the emotion of that day. Some work out wonderfully - pork belly slow cooked with mustard and sage - and some don’t - chicken pie with tarragon cream and … forgetting to take the meat off the thigh bones.
Now that it’s going to be fictionalised I’ve taken out some of the real stuff. And a lot of the stuff that doesn’t work towards any narrative excitement. Life and love being that strange thing that has a very, very long narrative arc ;)
The Mess site is an amalgamation of the two of us - the more recent stuff is Jono as I was in the land of final edits for my book Things.