Who are you, what on earth possessed you to start a blog, and why?
I’m a single (recently divorced for the 2nd time, although this time around it was very amicable), late-40s, part-time father of two who enjoys cooking. I enjoy cooking not only because I enjoy good food and the process of making food that I have fun eating, but the process of cooking helps me to relax and to stay sane in an otherwise stressful life.
I’ve been posting photos of some of my cooking on my BlackBerry Messenger status page for a while. A special friend, Kitty, suggested that I try my hand at blogging about my cooking – I’m going to write about other stuff as well, just to keep things flowing and interesting.
I mainly cook for myself – partly, as I have said, because I enjoy cooking and I find it relaxing, but certainly because it allows me to eat healthily (most of the time, but more of my love for the trashy dishes in life later), which complement my attempts to exercise and manage my stress levels. All of that, of course, is driven by a need and a desire to get my cholesterol levels down to safe levels, after they got out of control during a particularly sybaritic period of my life. I enjoy cooking with and for the special ladies in my life – that sounds terrible, when, truth be told, there are really only 3 special ladies: my recently ex-wife, B; my girlfriend, Kitty, and my daughter. I love cooking for friends – and I enjoy cooking for my two children, who already have broad palates, to expose them to new tastes and to feed them healthily.
Having been persuaded to at least start this blog, I know that I will need to keep it going, with regular updates, if it is going to be anything more than an outlet for my repressed creative streak (isn’t that an oxymoron? a “creative accountant” or “creative banker”? Not as bad as “honest politician”, of course…). In addition to writing about some of the cooking I do – the primary purpose, after all, of this blog – I will spout forth about topics such as South African music and musicians – among the best in the world! (did I mention yet that I live in Johannesburg, South Africa) – kitchen equipment (buy good knives and keep them sharp!) and why “slap chips” (french fries) are an essential food group all of their own.
6 months ago, I would never even have considered blogging – primarily, because I was working far too many hours for far too many days of each week. Fate, who has intervened in my life in the past, always with good outcomes, stepped in again and forced a change of mindset and pace. For the past 3 months or so, I have been fortunate enough to enjoy the benefits of a change of pace – sleeping a little longer, getting up without an alarm (um, mostly), walking in the fresh air, talking to the neighbourhood cats, exercising regularly, and cooking more. I am determined to try and maintain this more-balanced lifestyle – hopefully, in doing so, I will find time to keep this blog going.
[Mmm – just took a quick break to enjoy some new cheese I bought today – “Marisch”, from Anura Estate near Cape Town, bought from Woolworths. Described as “a delicately flavoured semi hard cheese with a mild but spicy flavour” – due, no doubt, to the Cajun spice that the cheese had been rolled in. Yummie! Very tasty on a crisp cream cracker, washed down with some Cabernet]
That reminds me – in addition to the cooking, SA music and kitchen equipment, I am likely to comment on food in general, restaurants (I enjoy letting someone else do the work, provided they serve something I could or would not attempt at home), cheese, wine and other alcohol. As I write this, the moving lyrics and superb sound of Tailor’s “The Dark Horse” are keeping me company. Read more about this Cape Town-based artist at http://thisistailor.com/.
What else? I grew up cooking, mostly basic stuff, or boy-food, cooked at home or during the many, many hikes and camps I went on as a Boy Scout. After I married (for the first time), I became more adventurous – to be honest, I probably got too complex in my dishes, mixing up too many flavours. My second life-partner, later wife #2, B, taught me to simplify my cooking, to allow the ingredients time to soften, to mellow, to “love each other”. She also taught me several Mauritian and French dishes. I have lived alone for most of the last 3 or so years, cooking (as I said at the beginning) for myself, my kids (when they come to spend every 2nd weekend with me), and those 2 special women in my life. I don’t just cook to survive or eat – I cook because I enjoy eating good food that I have prepared, because I enjoy cooking for those people around me who appreciate good food, and because it is a form of relaxation. As time goes by, I have become a little more adventurous and a little more confident in my cooking – some of which I hope to share with anyone who takes the time to read this blog – assuming I manage to sustain it.
I’m ending this, my first posting, listening, for a change, to a superb musician who is not from South Africa: Xavier Rudd, who hails from Australia, is a most amazing and accomplished musician, who plays any number of instruments, including the didgeridoo. The opening track of his “Spirit Bird” album is playing now – and I’m likely to repeat the track several times.