Sunday, December 26, 2021


This being the season of good cheer and good food ...

...I found myself reading a wonderfully sour article by Jonathan 

Meades, titled ‘Meat on Canvas.’  Here’s a good bit about food 


‘As a result of the food photographers who see themselves as heirs to Archibaldo and Miro … chefs have submitted to the dictates of art direction. They make food which is to be looked at … They talk about presentation, all the time, believe me they do.’




Of course he was talking about professional food photographers and professional chefs, and this was written in 1986 when ‘social media’ were a sci-fi writer’s fantasy.  But these days, half the world seem to be food photographers, and a quick riffle through the social media of people I follow has brought up all manner of pleasures, that are a long way from being Archimbaldian

Here, for example, is William Basinski’s  ‘Xmas schorgasboard … root beer glazed ham, quiche lorraine, buttahmilk buisquits, brie and Italian salami and crackers & what-not for noshing and grazing.’


This is Christmas Gumbo as eaten by Lynell George:


This is a mutant Santa from Food Sake Tokyo:



And this also Tokyo, and more or less unimprovable, is a photograph Carl Stone put on Instagram labelled 熊すき焼きwhich I gather translates translates as Bear Sukiyaki.  


And since you ask, this was my pheasant and chestnut casserole; which could have been better, though I’m not sure what I’d have done to make it better.  I don't think snazzier presentation would have been the answer, though it could have done no harm:

Wednesday, December 15, 2021


 I had another Christmas sandwich, this one from Costa.


It called itself ‘Turkey & The Trimmings’ but really it was more trimmings than turkey.  The cheese on top could have overwhelmed a meatier sandwich than this one, and if you’d told me I was eating a stuffing sandwich I’d have believed you; and actually that would be OK. I think I prefer stuffing to turkey, but even so ….


And then there was this:


Have you ever thought of taking piece of Wensleydale cheese and mashing a spoonful of mincemeat into it? No, of course not but if you did, it would taste very much like the ‘Yorkshire Creamery, Limited Edition, Yorkshire Wensleydale Mince Pie.’  It looked like this:


And it tasted exactly the way you’d imagine it would.  It was strange but you know, it wasn’t altogether bad.  This is a list of the ingredients.


It just wouldn't be Christmas without fructose.







Tuesday, December 7, 2021



         Oysters haven’t been especially easy to get at my local farmers' market lately.   The fish man hasn’t had any.  The autumn was warm and he lost a fair bit of stock, he says, so he stopped selling them for a while.  But on Saturday he had some – well, just six, so I bought them.  They were biggies – and cost 1.50 rather than the usual pound.


Photo by Luna Woodyear-Smith.

When I say they were whoppers I should perhaps say they were monsters, which is also to say it was one heck of job to get them open.  And one of them looked a bit dodgy so here are the other five.


Photo by Luna Yearwood-Smith.

In fact the job was so Herculean that I broke my oyster knife on one of them.  My oyster knife isn’t especially treasured but I’ve always thought it was pretty serviceable.  So I was reduced to using the point of a knife and that broke too.  This adds to the pain (and the cost) of the pleasure.

The oysters' revenge.