nigel slater's the kitchen diaries

i'm so inspired by this book that i feel like i have to quote the entire first page for you:

Right food, right place, right time.  It is my belief--and the point of this book--that this is the best recipe of all.  A crab sandwich by the sea on a June afternoon; a slice of goose with apple sauce and roast potatoes on Christmas Day; hot sausages and a chunk of roast pumpkin on a frost-sparkling night in November.  These are meals whose success relies not on the expertise of the cook but more on the basic premise that this is the food of the moment--something eaten at a time when it is most appropriate, when the ingredients are at their peak of perfection, when the food, the cook, and the time of year are at one with each other.

There is something deeply, unshakeably right about eating food in season: fresh runner beans in July, grilled sardines on a blisteringly hot August evening, a bowl of gently aromatic stew on a rainy day in February.  Yes, it is about the quality of the ingredients too, their provenance and the way they are cooked, but the very best eating is also about the feeling that the time is right.

I do believe, for instance, that a cold Saturday in January is a good time to make gingerbread.  It is when I made it and we had a good time with it.  It felt right.  So I offer it to you as a suggestion, just as I offer a cheesecake at Easter, a curry for a cold night in April and a pale gooseberry fool for a June afternoon.  It is about seasonality, certainly, but also about going with the flow, cooking with the natural rhythm of the earth.

Learning to eat with the ebb and flow of the seasons is the single thing that has made my eating more enjoyable.  Our culinary seasons have been blurred by commerce, and in particular by the supermarkets' much vaunted idea that consumers want all things to be available all year round.  I don't believe this is true.  I have honestly never met anyone who wants to eat a slice of watermelon on a cold March evening, or a plate of asparagus in January.  It is a myth put about by the giant supermarkets.  I worry that today it is all too easy to lose sight of food's natural timing and, worse, to miss it when it is at its sublime best.  Hence my attempt at writing a book about rebuilding a cook's relationship with nature.

--Nigel Slater

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