Since the beginning of December I have been seeing TV and magazine advertising intended to make us all buy, buy, buy for the Christmas festival up ahead. Food so temptingly displayed my stomach rumbles. And those lovely families where everyone is in complete harmony and everyone gets the right present and no one thinks "geesh, I am knackered after all that cooking and Aunt Katherine has left half the food on her plate again..." And outside it is snowing, perfect snowflakes falling into perfect gardens and not a traffic jam in sight. Fairy tale world.
This weekend there were two supplements with my Sunday newspaper, one was from a supermarket chain and one from the paper's publishers. I browsed through the tips and recipes and put both magazines on one side because I just might try those ideas for roast potatoes some time. Of course I will not be at home for Christmas. I will spend it with my daughter and her family and I don't have to do any cooking whatsoever. Admittedly I will spend New Year's Eve at home and a friend of mine is staying over so I am having two people to New Year's Day lunch. I love cooking for friends, I must admit, I even enjoy experimenting with recipes just for myself, even if it means eating a warmed up version for most of the week. So you never know, I might serve up roast potatoes for New Year's Day lunch or then again...
All of which reminded me of when I was undergoing chemotherapy and I stayed up at night because it wasn't worth going to bed and having to race to the bathroom every couple of hours for the first few days following each treatment. I do believe that I have never seen so many food programmes on TV as I did at that time. I still associate the hiss of frying steak with the nightmarish chemo feeling. Even last month when I was nursing a septic throat and watching daytime TV I didn't have to flick the remote past more than three channels to discover some famous chef or other doing remarkable things in his/her kitchen. It made me wonder how many people actually sit through these programmes and nod their heads sagely, muttering "ah yes, that extra bit of sea salt coupled with the dash of red wine will make all the difference".
No, I am not a domestic goddess. I like simple, fool-proof tips and plenty of instance sauce packets. I gave up baking when my children were grown up. Mainly because although my efforts tasted great - according to the other mums brave enough to try them -, the cakes themselves always crumbled somewhat and looked like mice had been at them. But hey, you can't be good at everything, I tell myself.