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What cooking does

We had some bad news this week.  And then it became even worse news; almost the worst; and bad enough that it filled my eyes with hot black fire and made me feel hate like I have never felt.  There are, of course, some things about which I can do nothing.  And when the angry black fire goes down a bit, I recognise this and try to be more useful — as dynamic and dramatic as storming around the home, weeping and gnashing one’s teeth is, someone still has to do the washing.

Cooking does lots of things for me and for my the people I love.  Cutting up vegetables, delicious and nourishing and the colour of sunshine…

…this reminded me to slow down (especially when I’m wielding a big knife).  These were fried in spices and then simmered in stock to make a thick, healthy broth…

…and this reminded me how easy it can be to bring something nice to the people I love.  When people are sick, spiced pumpkin soup is a lovely thing to offer them.  Especially if you serve it with garlic toast.

Dough, kneaded diligently and then raised carefully becomes this wholemeal bread, with a light, springy crumb and a soft, sliceable crust…

…and this reminded me to be patient and let what has to happen just do so.

And finally, little fat cakes…

…these reminded me that I love Guinness. There’s probably more to be learned from these cakes, about bringing sweetness back to people when they’re struggling, but the real surprise of the afternoon was the reminder of how much I love Guinness, as I sipped that which didn’t need to go into the cakes.

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