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Burnt

2 June 2005

Even now, even after all these years, I can still astonish, appal, infuriate myself sometimes. God alone knows what I do to my friends...

But anyway: loaded down as I am with excuses (I have finished my book, or near enough, and am totally focused on these last few laps of the marathon; I am in constant pain, more even than usual, and having mega-physio and acupuncture for it; I am distrait for a dozen reasons else, and more than usually drunk therefore), I still hate it when I do stuff like this. I had made a beef stock, clear and light and lovely; I was reducing it to a demi-glace, for reasons of taste and space and convenience (I like to freeze stocks in cubey lumps of high intensity, to be diluted as needed later); knowing that I was going out - to the dentist, and then to town for more reading/working - and that I have a wonderful history of forgetting that I have left things on the boil, I stood over it in magnificent concentration for fully half an hour. And then somehow got distracted in the last seconds, and forgot it, and wandered out. And was out for hours, and am probably lucky that I had any kind of a house to come home to.

What I did come home to, of course, was a house that stank and still stinks of that lovely burnt-metal smell of a ruined pan. I am burning scented candles and joss and essential oils in every room, and nothing shifts it; and meanwhile I am mourning my pan, which was old but an old favourite, which is irrecoverable. And the only goodness in this (you can tell Iím at the end of a book; I wouldnít say I had turned optimistic, never that, but I am determined to find a goodness, not to let anything spoil that feeling of completion) is that there is actually this set of pans I love, that I have been determinedly not buying for months, on the entirely spurious grounds that I havenít got any money and I really, really donít need any more pans. Now, of course, I do need at least one pan; and a couple of months back I cooked a dinner that used every pan I had, so actually I do need at least two, so I might as well buy a set; and I always buy something to celebrate at the end of every book, and never mind that I did that already with this one, I am finishing it again so I get to shop again; so guess what Chaz is going to do, in a day or few...?


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© Chaz Brenchley 2005
Reproduced here by permission of Chaz Brenchley, who asserts his moral right to be identified as the author of this work.