MISE EN PLACE:
the preparation of dishes and ingredients before the beginning of service
Though he might not like to admit it, my dad has always been good with food. He has a talent for improvising kitchen cupboard scraps into a meal, transforming stale bread and old sun-dried tomatoes into delicious bruschetta, or producing delicate crudités from vegetable drawer remnants. He has an innate sense of what flavours pair well together, and an ability to plate things in the artful way they do in restaurants. He often denies this gift, brushing off compliments by saying he can only make snack-food, which is really just his way of saying he doesn’t want to cook for the household.
The summer before our family fell apart, a legend started on our estate. I was ten at the time, and like every other ten year old, all I wanted to do was spend summer riding around on my bike at the park near our house. The climbing frames in the park were rusty and completely discoloured – unless whoever built them had intended brown to be the colour of childhood excitement – so it didn’t appeal to many parents as an afterschool site. Also, I’m pretty sure that drug dealers used to hang out there but I never met any, so how much of a presence could they have been really, you know?Read more…
1964: the year his marriage ended. The year his record stopped spinning, the needle in his groove lifted haltingly, and with a snap returned his tone arm to its cradle.
The rainy season brought rumours. Whispers of poison after a mass recall of Indomie noodles. A girl in Form 3 reappearing after several months with family in Maryland, withdrawn. Lurid headlines warned of cults, front pages daubed with blurry corpses. There were mutterings that the pastor of the Shining Light Ministry had not succumbed to a brief illness as had been announced to his congregation. Suicide. A word breathed into neighbours’ ears along pews. They said the body would never have been found if the hyacinth had not bloomed so late.Read more…
‘I’m a devotee of Anna’s double greens and filo pie, from A Modern Way to Eat. It’s a delicious, satisfying lunch to enjoy with friends, and looks amazing as soon as it’s out of the oven – it’s also surprisingly simple to put together, so you don’t have to spend hours prepping in the kitchen.’
Sarah, Assistant Editor