Z enthuses

My mother did throw fabulous parties. I’d like to think that, if someone who knew me fairly well was describing me, one of the words would be ‘enthusiastic’ and that would be spot on for both my parents. I make life easier for myself than my mother ever did, but it was a different age and, actually, one of my other descriptive words might be ‘efficient’ which would be less likely to apply to her. She’d work until she dropped and then get up early the next morning. I prioritise and dump the non-essentials, if it comes to it. But then, it depends on your definition of non-essential. Hers was rest, sleep and mine is percentage of effort compared to result.

Not that I’m knocking high expectations. I remember the weeks of preparation for parties, when the whole house – downstairs, anyway – was decorated with fabulous hand-made paper flowers or actual garlands. The food – she was never big on sweet foods, so I used to make cakes and puddings – involving hours of work on food that would outclass Masterchef even now. largely because of the time it took. Both my parents were beautiful cooks and took such care in preparation.

I’m not in the same league. However, I made some lovely stock the other day, which was turned into French onion soup this evening. I sliced the onions on the mandolin. wearing my anti-cut glove because I’m not an idiot, and then gently cooked them for at least an hour until they were nicely browned without being anywhere near burning, And then the home-made stock and the white wine were added and cooked for another hour. A long time for the simplest soup. But it was good.

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