Friday 9 February 2007

Cooking and remembering

I've spent the last three hours cooking. I am making squash soup, minestrone soup, game stock, beef casserole and braised red cabbage. I also have some rhubarb awaiting inspiration and a mango that I had forgotten and which is now perfectly ripe, but if I leave much longer will be past it. I had a similar avocado, but Ro and I shared that and now I'm sitting down with some brie, oatcakes and olives. I know that eating at ones desk is a dreadful example to the little ones, but this has rarely stopped me doing anything.

I had so many vegetables to prepare that I just put a box on the floor near me for the peelings, rather than spilling bits all over the floor while repeatedly opening the compost bin. I cut the cabbage in quarters, cut out the core and chucked it in the box. Tilly keenly rescued it and crunched it up, quarter by quarter. Very healthy, no doubt, but it may be necessary to encourage her to sit in another room this evening, for her digestion may be affected.

I haven't started on the marmalade and I'm not likely to now. Not today, that is, nor tomorrow, for I am going to the Dark Metropolis. My sister, El, Phil and I are having lunch together. It may not be the highly cultural outing that I said I'd be doing, but we are meeting up at the National Gallery, so it will count. Looking at that list, I've not got far yet, but I am buying unexpected music and liking it too (cheers, BD and Julie).

Looking up old posts reminded me of this one. Since I wrote it, I have had several occasions when I've remembered someone who didn't know me, or had forgotten my name, anyway. I wonder if this means that I'm getting better or whether I had been so worried about myself that I hadn't realised how many other people are the same.

I could be improving, you know. I phoned to book my train tickets yesterday (for those of you who don't live here, pre-booked tickets are cheaper) and, as often happens now, the person at the call centre said his name when he answered the phone. He was very helpful and found me the cheapest ticket - unfortunately it was two hours earlier than I wished to leave so I decided to spring the extra tenner for the later train but, since the difference was negligible, go First Class. El cheapo fare coming home, so I'm in the usual cattle truck.

He was friendly and sensible and at the end I (of course) thanked him. "Goodbye, Jason," I added. And realised that I've done this several times recently, remembering the names of people on helplines.

Is it possible, do you think, that writing about the problem I had with names has, by making me focus, cured it?


Imperatrix said...

Do you have a chest freezer (or whatever you call it on your side of the ocean), or do you plan to eat all this soon? I had some friends who would spend all day Sunday cooking meals, so they'd eat healthy during the busy busy weekdays. Great idea if you don't have much time on weeknights.

My favorite thing to do with rhubarb is compote. Chop em up, add a bit of water and sugar, and let it simmer to a gooey mess. *Very* good on fresh bread. Mmm Mmm.

As a person whose mundane name is butchered more often than not (and even been told by some folks to my face that I can't have my name, as it is a "boy" name), I can tell you, it's perfectly OK not to speak someone's name if you don't remember it. Don't stress out over it. But if you remember and that feels good, then, "Huzzah!"

Christina S said...

It could well have.

Did you see The Truth about Food on BBC2 last night? There's apparently some evidence to suggest that eating strawberries daily improves memory.

My memory is dreadful and getting worse. And I do like strawberries, so it's a good excuse to start eating more.

The most striking thing in that programme though was how tomatoes can prevent against sun damage to the skin and therefore help protect the skin from ageing.

Daily tomatoes in my diet from now on!

Z said...

We do have a chest freezer (gosh, something that has the same name both sides of the Atlantic?) but I expect it'll all get eaten up pretty soon.

I may squeeze an orange onto the rhubarb instead of water. I love rhubarb, sweet and sharp together.

I try to remember a name if that makes it a compliment - if it's someone who would not expect their name to be remembered. It's the people I really should know that I don't, but I'm starting to feel that it's best to smile, say sorry and ask.

I have a friend who has an unusual spelling of a well-known name and people don't hesitate to tell him he spells it wrong. I had years, growing up, when hardly anyone had heard of my name, so I answer to anything.

Z said...

Yes, I saw it Ruby. My son saw last week's edition too and said it was one of the most common sense and helpful programmes about food that he'd seen.

lettuce said...

thanks for visiting - I've really enjoyed visiting you again and catching up on your (excellent) writing. Thats a hopeful thought, isn't it? that writing about a problem could contribute to curing it.

(I should be well on the way to recovery!)

I loved your birdfeetsnow picture - I posted one a bit like it, but not half so good.

Z said...

Thanks, Lettuce, for the compliments *blushingly*.

Well, sometimes when I tell someone about something I can't work out, the answer pops into my head. Maybe there is something in it. Wouldn't that be great?

The Boy said...

Do enjoy the big smoke. Lunch at the National, that's something I haven't done in a long time. Must try to make more time for LL and I to do the odd cultural thing.

Rhubard upside down cake, yum, and relatively easy (chopped rhubarb and sugar at the bottom of a sealed cake tin, victoria sponge (with ginger) baked on top, the rhubard sort of caramalises and the juices soak into the sponge)

badgerdaddy said...

Rhubarb is evil - it is a cousin to celery and should be banned! DOWN WITH THE 'BARB!!!

Z said...

We're not lunching there, Boy, although I had a very good cup of coffee and Eccles cake (small but yummy) a couple of months ago. My girly has sent me a link to the restaurant she's booked, but I haven't actually looked at it yet.

When you work in London and live outside, I expect the last thing you want to do at the weekend is go back there. I do want to get to the Hogarth exhibition at the Tate though.

I made a cake in the end and folded the rhubarb (which I'd warmed through with the juice of a clementine and honey) into it. Ginger is lovely with rhubarb and so are kumquats. You have to cook them first with sugar though or they are far too sharp.

Memo to self - when Badgerdaddy comes to dinner, don't serve rhubarb or celery. Or chocolate or anything else with caffeine. Alcohol no problem.

Okay, that's sorted.

Anonymous said...

you know, I do.

it's something to do with using both sides of the brain and then getting those synapses cross firing and then triggering memory.

(just call me Jen, MD) you know you want to.

(I have no idea if the above is true, just thought I'd mention that)

Z said...

Get away with you, Jen, you had me believing you there.

Off you go on holiday. Have a good one.

Unknown said...

i am not good with names. or faces. unless i really find the meeting or running-into very interesting then i would remember everything, even the nitty gritty stuff. and when i do, sometimes it scares people off. for somebody to remember even the minute of things that happen during that casual event, she must be very paying closer than needed attention.
most people dont like the extremes, it seem. :)

Z said...

Hello, Margarette Rona, welcome.
I'm just the same, I remember the things people have told me years later. Not long ago, I asked an acquaintance if she'd started music lessons yet - she looked at me as if I am psychic and told me again how she is planning to when she has time. We'd had the same conversation last June, she'd forgotten but I hadn't.

If someone looks startled at what I've remembered, I tell them that it was because they were so interesting and then they are flattered instead of suspicious!

Anonymous said...

Using people's names is gratifying to them. In my business (later!) one learned that the GP could be a shower BUT if you addressed them by their name, their behaviour immediately improved.

Z said...

Remembering someone you have no reason to remember is a compliment, isn't it, and I do seem to be improving there. The test will be the next time I'm introduced to several people during the course of a party...that's what really tests me.