Eight Days (24 June 2018)

- Ok, enough already with the plastic ... Max Veenhuzen spent some time on that for Good Food last week. You should read it, there’s some good thoughts and excellent restaurants doing their thing to make a change. We have a one billion take away cup-a-year habit, ten million plastic straw-a-day habit. Both need to be broken.
"The situation globally is so bad now that we've reached a situation where micro-plastics are showing up in sea salt," says [Dan] Hunter. "If you think reports like these are someone else's problem but you want to continue eating from the planet and praising nature's bounty without helping to reduce waste, you're a bit of a dick." Indeed. 
On Wednesday, Woolies banned the bag. While that still won’t get me into the supermarket, it is a step in the right direction.
- Incidentally, I have been trying to get my hands on the Wasted! doco, I have heard it’s brilliant … anyone? Bourdain presented, Bottura is quoted “We don’t need to produce more, we have to act different.” Last week we talked about how much Bourdain did with his 20 years, Bottura, back on top of the 50 Best above, does that too
- Which, perhaps a little bizarrely, brings me to the Hippocratic Oath – the oath our doctors still swear by. The modern version (re-written by Louis Lasagne, which I am taking as a sign) is quite beautiful. There is much in there that I felt applies equally to food as it does to medicine.
“I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon's knife or the chemist's drug …" (just as the art of hospitality is as important as the food)

"I will not be ashamed to say "I know not," nor will I fail to call in my colleagues when the skills of another are needed for a patient's recovery …" (let's share the love with other artisans, with the growers, with colleagues)

"I will prevent disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure …" (food is fundamental to this)

"If I do not violate this oath, may I enjoy life and art, respected while I live and remembered with affection thereafter. May I always act so as to preserve the finest traditions of my calling and may I long experience the joy of healing those who seek my help.” (yes, yes and yes)

Perhaps we should have an oath of hospitality?  
Postcards from the past
Myrtle Allen passed away this week. Her restaurant, Ballymaloe House, defined the farm-to-table movement in Ireland, as Alice did in the US. Her Ballymaloe Cookbook took that movement into the homes of the Irish (and further afield). I particularly loved this, among the recipes, about a: “field that has always made good butter. That is long ago and the fragrance is almost forgotten”. Time, passing, again. 
- My beautiful friend (and editor of these missives) Lou, lost her 95-year-old grandfather, Nonno, this week. He was a beautiful man, with gnarled, wisened hands and sharp eyes. His house is that of Alibrandi’s memories, with an excellent vegetable garden instead of flowers, garlic hanging from the rafters, olive oil in the garage. He hosted a family pig day each year, salamis shared among the family, salamis that were given as the bonbonniere at Lou’s wedding. He held so much knowledge of culinary traditions of years gone by. We must hold to these and preserve them. In Nonno, we are safe, as Lou carries much of him in her. If you are lucky enough that you can, go talk to yours.
- Finally, I can not stop listening to this – even if you don’t understand the words, his voice is spellbinding (ok, I think I have a petit crush). The gist: with winter we can better appreciate  summer, through suffering we will celebrate happiness, through tears we enjoy laughter, to know life in the wind we can put down roots, but most of all, for this: “La beauté des choses qui passent, la force des choses qui restent." (The beauty, the things that pass; the strength, the things that remain.) It seemed poignant this week.