Sayda is on the Dukan diet and as all those dear to me know I am an avid meat eater (sorry vegetarian pals)
so the heavy-on-the-protein element is not displeasing but I'm not a diet person.
The discipline of dieting however has sparked something. Now my feet are pretty firmly back on the ground and life has slotted into a new variation of normality I'm ready to make a few overdue life changes. Little things have been bothering me for a long time. Supermarkets selling fruit and vegetables out of season, plastic bags sent to landfill, wastage, everything you buy is laminated in plastic and has been transported half way across the world just so we can eat strawberries all year round. Why? Discuss. What's fun, tasty and saves a tiny bit of the planet? Jars. Lots of preserving jars.
And vinegar, salt and sugar. No, not vinaigrette. I've made an elaborate plan under the strict instruction of Mrs Beeton et al. Everything I eat and buy now needs to be in season. I'm following wisdom from my older cookery volumes for guidance and turning to some national trust references for preserving techniques and I shall be avoiding major supermarkets as much as possible. In short; in May the following is in season:
therefore I shall do my upmost not to deviate from this shopping list. If I want to eat an apple, I can't if it's not grown in the UK. Right now the only fruit I can definitely eat are gooseberries and rhubarb, stews & crumbles are obvious but what about in a couple of months when they're out of season- well I plan to over buy now and get preserving. The only way I'll be having rhubarb in August is jam, or chutney and cauliflower is going to make a reappearance in late summer as a jar of piccalilli.
I know what you are thinking, she goes on one date with an Eco warrior
and now she's knitting her own dish cloths, dug out her bags for life
and chowing down oxtail stew, and having rhubarb with everything. Well
you'd be half right, people I meet do have an influence but I am in
the WI so I better start getting good at this jam lark or I'll be a
laughing stock! And I've been a bit obsessed with Le Parfait since Em
showed me how to make marmalade when I lived in Norwich.
This new 1940s style regime has had to start really small. At the
start of the year I really was barely coping. I must admit I still
have off days which I acknowledge and try to weather. Slowly I am
pulling together a routine, and it is exciting, starting afresh. But
on the other hand I'm being quite hard on myself, my standards have
elevated over and above my current capabilities. For
example, I want to produce a birthday cake for Frank today, make the
piccalilli, finish an oxtail stew which is lacking umpf and get myself
organised for next week so I'm multitasking by writing this in the laundrette!
My energy is low right now and worst of all I'm cooking too much. Too much for one,
having spent 4-5months not always eating properly and 4 years cooking
for 2 I've started to struggle with portion sizes, so please hungry
friends keep popping in unannounced, there will always be
something in, in season.
Gradually, if I can make this work, I should have a well maintained larder of homemade ingredients and a reduced
carbon footprint. I had to get myself back first, now it's time to be a bit more responsible, and it's a great excuse to get the really old cook books out. Barley wine anyone?