It’s been a while since I wrote anything on here. The truth is despite numerous attempts I’ve been unable to drum up enough momentum to see anything through to finish. Lockdown three has been a bleak, dark experience, with none of the external rays of sunlight puncturing through the window panes. As someone who struggles with the deepest parts of winter at the best of times, being cast as an extra in the horror that is Global Pandemic; The Movie has been a tiring, demotivating slog through the last months. As I type this at 5.30pm from my sofa whilst watching the last of the light fade through the patio doors, I am reminded of the American poet Anne Bradstreet who once noted “If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant”. Whilst this particular winter has lasted a year, it does appear that spring is finally coming, albeit at a glacial pace with that particular glacier wearing a face mask whilst moaning about all the non-face mask wearing glaciers. I haven’t been one to discuss the vaccine because to me it felt crass to share that joy on social media whilst others are still beside themselves with panic over their parents still awaiting theirs, but last night the last of our folks got the jab. We both shed a few tears and I suggested opening a bottle of wine. I got told I was just looking for an excuse to drink on a Monday. To be fair, I was. Drinking at home has become de rigour; the gentle pickling required in self-preservation, whilst meal times has surpassed not only eating my feelings, but everyone I’ve ever met.

I miss eating in restaurants but not as much as I’d miss my Dad if we just condemned the elderly to an early grave. And that’s my final take on the last year: if four seasons of ’90 Day Fiance; The Other Way’ has taught me anything it’s that this is happening all over the world, not just our little country, and not just on places with Twitter. If we’re to be hypercritical the countries without access to Julia Hartley-Brewer’s bullshit trope have likely fared better than those who have. Restaurants will bounce back – not all of them – but then that argument can be applied to the majority of life in the last twelve months. Whilst that can be viewed as a tragedy, it must also be seen as great opportunity; I won’t be the only person to leave a stable job with the realisation that being your own boss is the thing that works best for you. Without the pandemic there’d be no Rocher Patisserie, no 8, no Shikshak, no Hot Chix, or no Makan Tabao. We’d all still be going out to eat on Fridays and Saturdays whilst neglecting midweek dining. 2020 was the year that we realised that good food can be cooked by others and enjoyed at home, and as much as we all want to eat in restaurants again, that isn’t going away. The restaurants will kick back because they are places to make memories; to share time with friends and loved ones. The food bit right now is secondary to that, which is a weird thing to say for someone who writes about food. My first meal out will be about who is opposite, not what is laid in front. I miss the superstars in my life way more than I’ll ever miss the stars in the Michelin guide.

Right now, I’m content with the options we can have here at home, reheated from the stove with the splattered grease spots, then taken through the living room and onto the dining table that even I am bored of the sight of. It’s on that table that we’ve celebrated Claire’s birthday, Christmas, New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day. We’ve eaten some great food, some dreadful food, and lots of nondescript food. Some has been delivered direct to our door ready to eat, some have involved a bit of prep, and others have been cooked from scratch in my kitchen. They range in price from too cheap to too expensive, and that doesn’t even scratch the surface of those I haven’t ordered because of their pricing structure. Now is the time to survive, not exploit. It’s a lot of food, but then I do have approximately six weeks to get it all out on here in some sort of structure. I’ll be back in a week’s time, hopefully a little more optimistic, to get the first set off my chest. Stay safe