Where would I be without Nigel?
Today my thoughts turned to the celeriac that has been lurking for the last few days. I shan't say where - it's just been lurking.
I've been dipping in and out of Nigel Slater's latest magnificent octopus: Tender (btw please don’t buy it from Amazon. Go to your local independent bookshop and order it. It will cost a bit more, but they will appreciate you, and if you don’t appreciate them, they will close down. Here ends the lecture.)
This book has a concept so stunningly obvious that I'm amazed it hasn't been done before. Well, it probably has, but I doubt if it has been done as well as this.
It's about growing, cooking and eating vegetables (at least part one is - part two will be about fruit hurrah). It is written in his usual style, every syllable lovingly imbued with the care of the professional food writer, but the whole equally saturated with the enthusiasm of the amateur.
Above all, I get the feeling that Nigel is fundamentally 'just like us' when it comes to food. I just know that he has hardening dog ends of Parmesan (beginning, frankly, to smell a bit like vomit) and a mouldy jar of capers at the back of his fridge, just like me; that, just like me, he ignores the pile of bananas from his organic delivery box in favour of more glamorous fruit like mangoes or pineapples, and they sit in the bowl, steadily browning, until well beyond the point of no return; and that sometimes, just sometimes, he says 'fuck it' and makes himself a meal comprising six chipolatas, a packet of Kettle chips, three-quarters of a bottle of red wine and a mars bar.
Just like me.
But he is also the master of 'giving you permission to make things up'. Hence tonight's meal. Sausages, grilled and sliced; celeriac, sliced and boiled; a simple dressing of mustard, lemon juice, oils, parsley. Mix together in a bowl. Eat. Wipe juice from chin. Watch quite-good-ish film about John Lennon.