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Recipes & RSI

9 May 2004

I keep having conversations that reveal the most unexpected people reading this (you know who you are) - but a lot of them apparently read it for the recipes, and Iím getting complaints. Not enough food, people are telling me. It used to be recipe-rich, but no longer; how can you talk about scallops Mornay, they say, and not give a recipe?

Well, theyíre right, of course, itís shameful. Thing is, though, Iíve been working so hard this year, I havenít been anywhere near as experimental in the kitchen as I sometimes am; Iíve largely been falling back on staples, making big pots of chilli and curries and such. And when I have cooked something new, itís generally been from someone elseís recipe, and there are issues of honour as well as of copyright that prevent my reproducing those. I will seek to restore food to its proper position, as a major theme of this weblog, I promise - but not yet. Give me a month.

Itís true, I may just possibly be within a month of finishing the novel, if I can keep going at the present rate. That is, perhaps, unlikely; consistency was never my strong point (and the deadline is the end of this month, and I never never meet deadlines, so...). At the moment, though, Iím hammering along. And having fun with it, which is terrific and unexpected. Usually by this stage Iíve lost all confidence and all pleasure in a book, and itís just a blind charge to the end; this one, Iím disturbingly content. Partly I think thatís because my agentís already seen the first half and approved it; itís unusual to have that kind of mid-term test, but special circumstances - an interested UK publisher - made it a good idea this time. In fact the publisher decided not to read it till itís finished, but hey, I still got the benefit of an intermediate thumbs-up. Which does help, seemingly.

So yeah, thirty-five pages so far this month, though none today; Iím having an official day off. Apart from reasons else, my hands are really hurting; RSI run rampant, despite a divided keyboard. Hasnít been this bad for years, but then I havenít worked this hard for years either; a hundred and ten, hundred and twenty thousand words this year, something on that order. And of course one types far more than one keeps. I donít really think one dayís rest will make much difference - and I am, I observe, typing this - but one might as well make the gesture. Besides, though, as I say, there are other reasons. Went to my friend Pegís housewarming last night, so I was late astir this morning, barely had time to run into town for some yellow bean sauce before the Spanish Grand Prix. Iíve said in these pages before, I am the worldís most unlikely Formula One fan, being a car-hating pedestrian and all, but oh, I do love Ferrari. I am of the tifosi, me. And we got a one-two today, which is just exactly perfect. And now Iím going to spend the evening watching movies and cooking. Fillet of pork, slathered in yellow bean sauce and hoi sin sauce and soy sauces and garlic and such, roasted ever so slightly pink, and eaten with noodles and soup. You donít really need more of a recipe than that, do you...?


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© Chaz Brenchley 2004
Reproduced here by permission of Chaz Brenchley, who asserts his moral right to be identified as the author of this work.