Where to begin? Well. I want to write about food.
Since I can remember food has been a stoic friend. Together (and at my parent’s expense) my family lived and travelled the world, predominantly in Asia (where my mother is from), meeting many people and eating countless meals. For an agonising few years, food and I had an uncomfortable separation when I was sent away to prep school. The shit really hit the fan when I realised my fellow preppers could not use chopsticks, had not heard of gollo mee, never tasted hainan chicken rice, or smelt sambal belacan. On the other hand, they had heard of group beatings, wedgies, mega wedgies and super atomic mega wedgies. Their disinterest in good food was more than matched by their efforts to find wherever in the schools grounds I had hidden and pelt me with acorns, conkers, fir corns, sheep poo and shoes.
Even though the school was surrounded by some of North Yorkshire’s most opulent and verdant farmland, not to mention the countless livestock, rabbits and pheasants that presided on the school land, I had no choice but to eat the ghastly food that to this day blights our country’s educational establishments (fee paying or not). It was the only time of my life I successfully lost weight.
Despite the occasional trip to the local deli, the food at my second school was not exceptional, but infinitely better. What I was introduced to was junk food, which, combined with a healthy appetite, pocket money and puberty, turned me into a highly-developed and overweight man-boy. My favourite snack at that time: two chicken rolls stuffed with Frazzles or McCoy’s (Salt & Vinegar), four slices of toast, ten chocolate bourbons, a Mars milk, a pint of milk, a bag of grapes and two cups of tea (milk no sugar).
University was where I really started to develop my cooking skills. I blended, burnt, chopped, peeled, overcooked, undercooked and over-salted my way through recipes emailed to me by my ever indulgent mother. I can only apologise to those who endured some of the atrocities I lumped on their dinner plates. Added to this I got to experience the food adventure that is Leeds, in particular the great little eating establishments and ethnic supermarkets that can be found all over the city.
These days food and I are intimate friends. My skills have been finely-honed and I find complete gratification in reading about food, learning to cook it and practicing new recipes. When my minimal salary allows me to, I eat out. Cooking for my friends, talking about food and eating it is my way of escaping the monotony of a boring job and dreaming of being the next Nigel Slater.