When do you like to do it, and who cares whose cheese it is anyway?! (WiR guest post)

Welcome to this post by my friend JDH. She’s a virtual writer in residence at the Writers Wrest and it’s so great to be able to publish her writing. Thanks for letting me share your wonderful creation JDH!

So, when do you like to do it? Earlier morning? Mid-morning? Mid-day? Mid-afternoon? In the late afternoon maybe?! In the evening when all the kids are in bed?! Or is it at some ungodly hour…or is it just when the urge hits? The kind of urge that strikes like a bolt of lightning. You know the kind of bolt I am talking about… well, those of you who take great delight in cooking up a storm know what I am on about.

Yes. Cooking, that’s right, cooking. Right about now would be the time to take your mind from that proverbial place and put it in the kitchen. Now that I have your attention. Today I had what I call a ‘session’. Every four weeks or so I will give in to an insane urge – to cook and bake, cook and bake, and cook and bake some more. It is often one of my poor unfortunate sisters who gets to be the Commis. Commis, that’s just a fancy term for pot-washer, or ‘dish pig’. The latter is a term I am not courageous enough to apply to my older sister. To do so would be at my peril. I could well end up with a quick slap or a flick behind the ear. Or a worse fate yet. Minus one Plonguer! Commis – those of you who are familiar with the “hierarchy” of a traditional commercial kitchen setup will know all too well, that I have indeed given the Plongeur, a loftier title.

I like to do it whenever. I have been known to be banging pots and pans about at midnight. On the rare occasion, or two or three, the ‘session’ has seen the break of dawn coming through. Which I might add, has seen the ‘session’ come to its completion with – you guessed it, a big brekkie fry-up. You bet your bottom dollop, oops, dollar, I’m talking the works here – poached eggs laying strategically atop a base of English muffins topped with spinach and béarnaise sauce (you can use hollandaise if you prefer – not much between them – some will argue though!), mushrooms sautéed in lashings of butter tossed with a hint of mixed herbs, grilled tomatoes topped with cheese and paprika, hashbrowns (just because you can) and crispy bacon. Mmmm. Washed down with a beverage of your liking (I recommend a nice fruity white).

Today’s session; not my best effort. However, it did see one family sized apple pie (mid-night snack material), one family sized vegetable pie (tomorrow night’s dinner served with Estouffade De Boeuf Bourguignonne), and a selection of assorted quiches (one omelette nature- from the left over quiche mixture – no wastage on my shift), one lasagne for tonight’s dinner (surplus into the freezer for a quick throw together meal at a later date), and much cheddar, no, sorry, chatter on the history of cooking, culinary delights, and the origins of produce.

Tonight’s meal was served with salad ‘al a Jenny’. No Lettuce. Lettuce is overrated, tasteless, and useless. Simply toss diced up tomatoes, diced Lebanese cucumber, spring onion, Spanish olives, diced avocado, a mixture of fresh herbs, and a large serving of diced Danish feta- wallah, one salad minus the dreaded lettuce.

Do you ever look at your dinner plate and wonder as to the origins of the produce? Well, tonight my family and I did. It struck me that our meal was very multicultural – Italian, Aztec, Lebanese, Spanish, Mexican, Danish, and so on. Tomatoes can be traced to the early Aztecs, therefore it is believed that the tomato is native to the Americas. Cucumbers originate from India. Spring onions are thought to have originated from the Far East. Olives, according to resent research, were first domesticated in the Eastern Mediterranean between 6,000 to 8,000 years ago. As to where the olive was first cultivated, this has been hotly debated. The delightful avocado is native to the eastern and central highlands of Mexico. Finally, we reached the feta. Feta, is Greek. Is it not? Well, so I thought. There has been some debate as to which culture feta belongs to. The Greeks, Danish, and Germans are a few amongst others who wish to lay claim to the ownership of this all so fine cheese.

Who cares whose cheese it is anyway?! I don’t. Danish feta will always be and will always remain, Danish feta…

A multicultural or, ‘United Nations’ dinner plate, as my sister called it, can make for interesting dinner conversation, and certainly is, food for thought. United Nations, yes. ‘Many Nations’ who have come together on the humble dinner plate. These words prompted a memory of a song from an album that my mother would play. I have never been sure of the title of the song. ‘One Hundred Children’ or ‘We come from Nations all over the World’. I believe that the song was written and sung by Tom.T. Hall. We grew up on the Kamahl version though. Either way, it is a song that we all enjoyed listening to and singing along with

One hundred children, brave boys and girls
We come from nations all over the world
One hundred children marching along
One hundred children singing their song

Don’t blow up the world, don’t kill all the flowers
Today this is your world, tomorrow it’s ours
Leave us pure water and forest uncut
Think of tomorrow, leave something for us…

As a child, the song was viewed with simplicity. No hidden messages. No other meaning than children from all cultures wanting and believing the same thing – for something of the world to be left for them. Love and peace for all. For right to be put before wrong… for a world, perhaps, to be left for them to grow fresh produce, so that they too can enjoy the pleasure of food upon their plates… bon appetit.

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