Saturday, February 11, 2006

Domestic bliss

I've just spent the last hour making a huge batch of tomato pasta sauce to bottle and preserve for winter, making the most of our current tomato glut. Best Beloved is usually the person who makes our preserves, but he is a stick-to-the-recipe-with- no-variations sort of guy, and gets very nervous at the thought of improvising.

I volunteered to make the sauce because every recipe he found for pasta sauce was vetoed by me as being insipid and unworthy of our tastebuds. He didn't want to make something up.

'It's like art,' I told him. 'You never know what you're going to get, even if you start with a firm idea in mind. In fact, if you end up with your first idea, it doesn't work. There's no freshness. You have to play, to take risks.'

This is why I never stick to a recipe. I've never attempted to write down my spaghetti sauce recipe because it's different every time, just like my mother taught me. When I was growing up she let me help with the sauce, and the policy was to fling stuff in until it tasted good. Mum's habit is to read recipe books as if they were novels (she reads them in bed! So does BB) and then cook her version. It was a great apprenticeship and it taught me that once you know your flavours, you can't really go wrong. Well, you can, but that's pretty rare. I think I've only cooked one inedible meal in my life, but lots of unusual ones.

Anyway, it was quite fun chopping and stirring. I played some records, and rediscovered my favorite Talking Heads song, a paean to loving where you are:


Home, is where I want to be
Pick me up and turn me round
I feel numb - burn with a weak heart
(so I) guess I must be having fun
The less we say about it the better
Make it up as we go along
Feet on the ground
Head in the sky
It's ok I know nothing’s wrong ... nothing

Hi yo I got plenty of time
Hi yo you got light in your eyes
And you're standing here beside me
I love the passing of time
Never for money
Always for love
Cover up and say goodnight . . . say goodnight

Home - is where I want to be
But I guess I’m already there
I come home - she lifted up her wings
Guess that this must be the place
I can't tell one from another
Did I find you, or you find me?
There was a time before we were born
If someone asks, this where I'll be . . . where I'll be

Hi yo we drift in and out
Hi yo sing into my mouth
Out of all those kinds of people
You got a face with a view
I'm just an animal looking for a home
Share the same space for a minute or two
And you love me till my heart stops
Love me till I'm dead
Eyes that light up, eyes look through you
Cover up the blank spots
Hit me on the head ah ooh

So now we have 9 lovely jars of tomato pasta sauce with mushrooms, silverbeet and capsicum, lots of garlic, masses of fresh basil, oregano and thyme, and hints of anchovy and balsamic vinegar, among other things. Best Beloved is operating the Vaccola as I type. Yum!

Postscript: This sounds like I'm dissing BB for being unadventurous. I sort of am, because he held his own this morning when I took him to Fitball with me. He's a juggler, so he's hip to the concept of balance, and the bastard was kneeling on his ball on his first time, whereas I am still trying to feel where my centre of gravity is (my mental picture of myself has a much smaller arse). So I need to be good at something today.

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