Is that how the song goes? Because at the tail end of the year, I always find myself a little more cautious with my cash – aside from the usual dinners out and weekend getaways, there are also a raft of birthdays to celebrate, Christmas dinners to attend, and presents to buy for both occasions! However some might well argue that in reality, every season is one to spend, and the tail end of everypay cycle is when we start feeling the pinch…
You can cut back on a lot when things are tight, but in my opinion, eating well should not be one of them… I’m not an advocate of choosing certain diets or cutting particular foods out, I’m all about the balance which makes me a sucker for a bargain and a little obsessed with supermarkets. We love experimenting with cheaper cuts of meat (lamb’s hearts are delicious, don’t you know) or turning basic ingredients into flavoursome and comforting meals… more for less, you might say if you work in the public sector!
I can only recall one plant which I have managed to keep alive for over a year; I was about eight and it was a cactus purchased from the school fair for 20¢. Pretty much sums up the extent of my gardening skills… needs to be something which can survive dire desert conditions and not terribly expensive as under my care, its life expectancy is low!
I thought I might have inherited some gardening skills from my parents, both of whom quite enjoy pottering out in the garden and having plants in the house but no, the green finger genes did not trickle down… Not that it bothers me at all; the idea of digging around in soil doesn’t really appeal and while I do love pretty fresh flowers, my hayfever doesn’t.
I will try any food at least once because otherwise how will I know if I love it or loathe it, or just find it somewhere in between the two? Without this policy I would have never discovered my penchant for pickled herring, been completely underwhelmed by crocodile, or chowed down on grasshoppers… bugs really don’t taste too bad, I promise you, and they make for a hilarious cocktail party conversation. But not every bite has to be so out of the box, sometimes it’s just nice to rediscover flavours you thought you didn’t like but maybe now you do…
Like carrots. A lot of people know I have an unnatural dislike of orange vegetables (sweet potato, pumpkin, squash…) but in the last few years carrots have somehow broken free of this ban and now I eat them all the time. Recently sun-dried tomatoes and olives have also joined these ranks… though after two weeks in Morocco, I’m taking it easy on the olives for a while. I remember dabbling in the sun-dried tomatoes and olives in my late teens, I was pretending to be sophisticated but it didn’t really work so I promptly gave them up. Then sometime around my mid twenties they made a reappearance and have been in the good books ever since.
I’m getting the feeling people here really like chicken; this is the conclusion I’ve come to after spotting the huge number of chicken joints around. Everywhere. There’s no shortage of the fast food giants like KFC, Nando’s, and of course the local secret shame, Chicken Cottage, but on top of that you have the smaller players like the Peri-Peri Chickens, or Lick’n Chick’ns of the world.
The one thing they have in common for me? I’m just not so sure I actually want to eat there. Don’t get me wrong, I am partial to a good old KFC Zinger Burger when the cravings call, but I think we all agree that Chicken Cottage is a 3am starting-to-sober-up thing, and Nando’s is just an overpriced version of that. But now, chicken seems to be trending upwards; the humble bird is getting high-brow.
It’s been a week since Wellington on a Plate ended and a whole week since my last burger. It was fun while it lasted but I am glad it is over… have I got burger burn out? Burger fatigue? Blocked arteries? Not sure, maybe… actually, hopefully not. I still love a good burger, I just think we need some time apart… but I’ll call when I’m ready.