Saturday, September 21, 2013
This morning I made bread. Beset by a mild malady, I spent Friday evening in bed, with a cup of cocoa and a book, rather than drinking wine and posting endless nonsense on twitter. Consequently, I was up early, and feeling revived, rather than desperate, so I made bread, to go with a lentil soup that hadn't yet been made.
Bread vexes me. Most weekends I make soup at least once, and you need to have nice bread to go with it, but, have you seen the price of it? Even nasty bread costs an arm and a leg, and a decent loaf is painful to purchase. You can buy a decent loaf in any supermarket, I'm not so daft as to deny that, but you can't argue that it is good value: in the end, it's only flour, yeast, sugar, salt and water, for fucks sake.
I used to have a bread machine, but I kept losing the little paddle thing and having to replace it, and I didn't like the bread it produced all that much either, long and thin, like the Nicola Zigic of the kitchen. Trying to cut a piece of that in a straight line required the dexterity of a surgeon. So I binned the machine and started making bread by hand, although not all that often, to be honest.
Here's the thing. Making bread is a piece of piss. No skill is required, very little time is required, and even a basic bleeder is as good as a premium supermarket store baked loaf, and, in most cases, better………and you can arse about and add flavours and textures as much you like, virtually for free. The bread I made today is very basic, half wholemeal, half white, sachet of yeast, bit of salt, bit of honey, bit of olive oil……..I dunno how much it cost, but I would be surprised if it was much more than 40p and I had the added bonus of a wonderful smelling house. A similar loaf in Sainsburys would be about £1.50, at least.
The book I took to bed was "Cook" by Wayne Macauley. Got about half way through, and so far, I love it. The thing has no punctuation, apart from full stops and is quite difficult to read until you get used to it; then it develops a strange, hypnotic rhythm all its own. So far, it is a bit of an hosanna to service, whether it remains so time will tell. I hope not, but it is still a brilliant, original and exhilarating read.
I can't watch Masterchef, it brings out the class warrior in me, all that fine dining; the kowtowing to the knobocracy: the deference. I sometimes think that if I had my time again, I might want to cook for a living, but I doubt I could cope with the subservience. 'Cook", so far, takes a different stance, and celebrates the monied class, the heroes of the book salute them, as their willingness to spend absurd amounts of money on a plate of innards provides the bottom feeders with a route out of the shitkicking suburbs. I love it, and it is funny, not uproariously funny, but funny, and provocative. What more could you want, apart from a couple of murders?
I haven't finished with Jamie by the way, I still have all last weeks recipes to complain about, and I have made his fish pie this morning, but I've come over all delicate again, so it will have to wait.