Kind of blue
It has been a long time since I have cooked for pleasure and an even longer time since I have written about it, or engaged at all in the act of artfully arranging words. Distressingly, I have until very recently also been unable to seek comfort and pleasure in the words of others. The insidious depression I experience on a predictable basis leaves me unable to see light, colour and beauty. It leaves me unable to create, and unable to enjoy the creations of others.
The great beauty of this affliction though is found in the revelation that occurs when light starts to peek through the darkness. A bar of music is unexpectedly experienced as a revelation; the contrast of the grey sky against prolific Jacaranda blossoms is electric; perfection is found in a punnet of local blueberries. Very soon these isolated experiences become less and less unfamiliar. So begins a period of renewed energy and appreciation for the world and its offerings.
This has been my recent experience, and while I am hesitant to celebrate a long-term change in mood, I have been taking joy in small things like cooking, reading bits and pieces, taking in films, seeking out new and exciting music and enjoying the company of others.
As I now begin to slowly work my way through several months worth of accumulated literature, one volume that stands out is Charlotte Wood’s Love and Hunger: thoughts on the gift of food. Wood writes about food and friendship in a way that I aspire to: with honesty, humility and warmth. With each essay she brings something new and meaningful to an over-saturated genre and provokes the reader to reflect on her own approach to nourishing the self and others.
One delightful chapter champions the oft-forgotten tradition of the homemade (or homegrown) ‘hostess gift’, small offerings that speak of love and gratitude. I had this in mind when I was invited to visit my friend the Shoegazer and her newborn son. A gastronome, and a time-poor one at that, I thought she would appreciate a luxuriously tasty treat. Happily, I spotted the perfect recipe on the Full of Grace granola facebook page in which I could incorporate the fine local blueberries currently available as well as a fragrant item from my mum’s garden.
Rose geranium scented blueberry compote by Matt Wilkinson
200g fresh blueberries
110g caster sugar
1 leaf and stalk of rose geranium