|apologies for awful photo, I have a very old phone|
Yesterday marked the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I and last night we went to a candlelight ceremony outside Cirencester's fantastic and wild medieval church, where various dignitaries read war poems and letters from soldiers at the front. A choir sang. There were prayers. It was solemn and powerful and at the end the officiator said, very calmly, “That concludes our simple ceremony. I hope it was alright for all of you. Those of you who have been in the military service are invited back to the Horse, for a drink.”
And the crowd dispersed. Mark and I walked back to the B+B where our kids’ lights were still on. They wouldn’t go to the ceremony. Too much happening on their iPhones. I’ve lectured them until I'm hoarse and it does no good. I've thought about throwing the phones out the window of our car.
The dollar is weak and I could spend all our money on British cookbooks and go into debt shipping them home. I’m keeping a list of the irresistible books and will track them down back in California, either at a cookbook shop or online. There are two titles solidly on the list right now: The River Cottage Cakes Handbook and Bread, Cake, Doughnut, Pudding by Justin Gellatly. (Gellatly used to work at my least favorite restaurant, St. John, but the book is so beautiful I can get past that.)
I did buy two used cookbooks (see photo) at a charity shop because they were practically free.
Laurie Colwin once wrote about her love of Josceline Dimbleby and Dimbleby's recipe for chocolate pear pudding, an improbably great dessert that I've made several times. On the strength of that recipe, I decided to give Dimbleby's book a chance, despite the plethora of scary ‘80s flavor combinations: passion-fruit and fresh lime flan, lychee lime ring, pumpkin and goat’s cheese lasagne with yogurt and cardamom. . .
We shall see!
Gary Rhodes’ book, published just nine years later, feels totally contemporary. He’s not trying to concoct sexy new dishes, but reviving long-neglected classics, like Lancashire hot pot, jam roly poly, and raspberry cranachan, which appears to be a sort of Scottish toasted oatmeal cream pudding. Very enticing. I was feeling kind of uninspired and unmotivated in the kitchen, but this break has revived my enthusiasm. Four more nights and we’re home. Today, though, we go to Wales.