Reader, I’m marrying him. Since moving to Dorset we have home-grown a free range ring-bearer each plus one bridesmaid. In the first year of our thirteen together without a drama, crisis or major distraction, we are sailing away with them, our mums and two old friends to the land where the Bong-tree grows for a wedding-moon.
The game is over. Country-dwellers will not mourn the loss from their plates, they are attuned to the gentle music of the seasons’ rhythms, the onward march of nature and March’s early, hesitant notes of spring. If city dwellers realized that cutting country corners involves, at the season’s end, untrained surgery, nipping and tugging out game birds breasts, discarding legs and wings to avoid the misery of flying feathers and torn skin, and wrenching out clusters of guts high with hanging, they’d doubtless be shocked. But that is the way with farmers whose braces of birds have already graced the table to the point at which a delicacy has lost its cache and the deep-freeze is still stocked with a flock. The skinless breast which I have abjured for ever as the root of much lazy cooking evil is upon us.
"I’ve spent over half my life in America. When I was a student, I had no money whatsoever and would always go to this shop in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and buy stuff that was way out of date. I spent an enormous amount of time eating things out of packets. Cottage cheese with pineapple was an obsession. Peanuts are a hugely positive form of food. Travelling around the Deep South it was so much easier to stop at a petrol station and buy a bag of peanuts than to go into some awful fast food place. American fast food is disgusting – the very notion of fast food is an anathema. The point of food is to enjoy company and so if you need fast food, you just buy some peanuts. But if you’re sharing food you take a good long time over it, that’s the point.