Sunday, February 02, 2014

washing up, shopping and daylight

 I prepare a dish of Bengali style aubergines for my brother Ken who is a vegetarian. The vegetable is spiced with cumin, chili, turmeric and the like and served in a yogurt sauce. We eat it with a fluffy basmati rice. I ask him if he is bored while I am preparing  it. He appears to be perfectly happy to watch and chat, and lends a hand from time time. The best part of the exercise  for me is after the meal when following my instructions he washes up and puts everything away in its place. So that humouring my present tidiness bug he leaves the kitchen is spotless.

Shopping this morning with Peter and Pammie. Strange how well the supermarket trolley doubles as a   Zimmer frame. Not that I need a Zimmer frame, but given my aches and pains which still persist, it serves a dual purpose. Shopping remains a pleasure for me as I plan a meal for visitors tomorrow. I think it was Jane Grigson who said that 80 percent of the skill of cooking lies in the choice and acquisition of the right  ingredients.

We are talking about Shakespeare. Ken says he remembers reading that while many phrases used by the Bard have become part of English idiom, a lot that might have succeeded have slipped through the net. He gives as  an example,  "we burn daylight", signifying "we're wasting time." We reflect on how up to date the words sound today.  Where does Shakespeare use them? With the help of a book called Shakespeare's Words, we trace the phrase, which appears twice in the plays, to The Merry Wives of Windsor and to Romeo and Juliet.

5 comments:

Stella said...

We have fourteen for Superbowl Sunday........an excuse for a midWinter party. It is also Groundhog Day (is this exclusively a N American thing?.) i'm not even sure now which indicates six mor e weeks of winter....if he sees his shadow or if he doesn't, but we can pretty much make that prediction sans groundhog. Remember: it's not what's on the plates, but what's on the chairs that counts.

marja-leena said...

How very pleasant to spend time with your brother, in the kitchen, and over Shakespeare. I did not know that about his phrases.

Roderick Robinson said...

I like that carefully qualified detail "following my instructions he washes up and puts everything away in its place". VR long ago outdistanced me in cooking skills so I concentrated on becoming a ne plus ultra washer-up. A job that, as you imply, doesn't end at the sink.

For several years I learned my craft finally, as BB, posting a list of the headlines under which the individual skills should be elaborated. This caught Lucy's eye and I felt I hadn't laboured in vain. I suspect an article dealing professionally and in full with washing up would amount to two thousand words.

Tom said...

I do find that vegetables cooked Indian-style are more appealing than when cooked European-style. But I must say Joe, much as I would like it to be otherwise (mainly because Lucy loves them) I really cannot generate much (by that I mean, not any) enthusiasm for aubergines.

Now you mentioned three spices, then added 'and the like' which may well have been significant. One of my 'and the likes' used in a recent recipe was coconut, which harks of the south rather than Bengal.

Coconut fills me uncomfortably, yoghurt bloats me. Take pity on a fan of Indian cooking and tell me what the unmentioned ingredients were ..... if you feel so inclined.

Joe Hyam said...

Stella Groundhog day has always fascinated me. I seem to remember a film which left me half believing in the process of repetition. But I can't rememeber precisely how it worked. We have neither groundhogs nor days associated with them over here I am afraid.

M-L It was a pleasant time. Affliction has its compensations.

RR I rememeber your skill in washing up and your pride in it, of which blog and other references has kept me up to date. It occurs to me that you and VR will never ever have considered a washing up machine.

Tom If I were a vegeterian I would invariably cook vegetables Indian style with spices. Heidi did not like aubergines while I do find them interesting and sometimes delicious. I wonder how you would react to the dish made made from cooked aubergine flesh beaten up with olive oil and and lemon juice, and used as a savory, dip with pitta bread.?

You may not have liked the Bengali dish. I can't remember which other spices I used. But their combination with those mentioned resulted in a sauce which I hope did not bloat.
As a cook I invariably note with interest people's likes and dislikes. If ever I had the good fortune to cook something for you and Lucy I promise no aubergine, and no coconut. Unless of course I could win you over with the aubergine dip.