Monday, 6 July 2009

The Virtue of Tranquility

There is a school of thought that suggests if a chef is stressed, or angry, you can taste it in his or her food.

Perhaps it makes sense. If the mind is focussed on something other than the plate, the food is likely to suffer. Heavy-handedness, tension and lack of attention to detail are all by-products of anger.

Thomas Keller’s kitchens at Per Se and The French Laundry are famously calm and quiet: a far cry from the frenetic, angry, shouty affairs we have come to expect from high end kitchens (The Ramsay Effect, perhaps?)

Maybe if Gordon’s fire and brimstone moments were less frequent, his food could be even better and the future of Ramsay Holdings would be a little more secure.

It would appear the same goes for writers.

Last week was a stressful affair, for various reasons. I didn’t even realise it until Friday. ‘You’re stressed, aren’t you?’ said the GF, ‘I can see it in your writing.’

She was right. Of course. The first draft of my hot dog post was clumsy, overly verbose and distinctly without point. After sharing a bottle of wine it was summarily and judiciously edited. For the best.

There is a moral here. For me, at any rate. When you are bubbling under the surface, it’s best not to cook or write. Things will go wrong and it will make the general mood an awful lot worse. The problem is self-exacerbating.


In other news: it was with giddying excitement that I found out on Saturday that this little labour of love had been name checked by BBC’s Olive Magazine as one of their favourite blogs this month.

A real honour to be featured alongside such luminaries as the (multi)-award winning Cannelle et Vanille and the staggeringly good (Guild of Food Writers nominee) World Foodie Guide. Excellent company indeed.

And finally, what can you expect this week? Vindaloo, High tea. The penultimate part of Eating New York (cheeseburgers and fries) and maybe even some tripe for this week's Nose To Tail exploit. Erm, yum?

And with that delightful thought, I must bid you adieu. The train awaits and when I next login I will be back up north. Probably covered in soot and eating pie in the welcoming bosom of the family.


Alicia Foodycat said...

Tripe is one of the very few things that I refuse to try on the basis that I just know it is icky. So good luck with that!

I look forward to your thoughts on afternoon tea though.

Niamh said...

Congrats on Olive!

I hear ya with stress and writing/cooking. When stress levels are high, I don't have the headspace to blog, or I blog crap, so I don't.

QGIRL said...

Congrats! Much deserved. I always enjoy your writing, don't be so hard on yourself!
Although I do agree that you have to be in the right frame of mind to do anything well.