When I choose to be alone I listen to Bach. Bach guarantees an immediate exodus from the kitchen to leave me with two dogs and a large bag of flour to do with it as I wish. Sometimes I wonder if the dogs would leave me too but I am selfish of their company and so hinder their departure to other parts of this house, especially the Beagle whose dark pools of chocolate eyes seem to blend well with Bach, as they appear to weep too, like the music, without effort, to the rise and fall of the Cello that haunts this peaceful room.
I prepare yeast for Pizza and carefully mix it with honey. Add tepid water. Put it in the linen closet, amongst the towels and sheets to ferment, the only warm room in the house on this final July day. I make the sauce. The cello carries me on and soon I am dancing to the woe and lilt of the music. As it is Saturday a carefree nonchalance gradually takes over and I drink a chilled glass of wine, spill sauce on my apron, swirl the wooden spoon into red - the colour of rich blood where no meat falls. Crumbled feta. Rich peppers. Green olives from Italy. Red organic onions from the market that slice like jewels on my small chopping board. All is beautiful in my world. No one dares to cause any dissonance. I escape.
Kneading does wonders for well-being and soon trays of Pizza come fresh and hot from the oven and it fills me with joy and more so when all is devoured without restraint. The result immediate. Bach. Bach. Bach. I say Bach three times. Bach has carried me through everything these past few years. I could not survive without him. When I think that these pieces were forgotten until the turn of the 20th century well it gives me cause for belief. Sometimes all we have is what we believe in. The pizzas were fantastic. The salad dressing even better. Did I say that the best cookery book is an inconsequential book that I bought in the US many years ago. It's called Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book. I can't recall when I bought it, many many years ago I am sure of that. But this is it, it is so basic, so raw, so true to cooking. There are no illusions to food. Try out the Any Fruit Coffee Cake, The Carrot and Coconut Cake, The no-nonsence German Chocolate Cake, the tid-bits of cooking, the pure honest earthy sense of it all.
My bookshelf is chock-a-block with sophisticated cook books but this one speaks of truth and wholesome honest to god cooking. It speaks of America to me, what I always thought was there, out free on the open road, Peach Cobbler, delicious and sudden, eaten at a diner in Virginia, Indian Fried Bread scooped into my hands in New Mexico, Guacamole to kill for in California. Integrity. That's the word. I believe in that. Sometimes it is all that keeps me going. Please tell me that it hasn't died, at least not where I least expected it to expire, where I always thought it would really matter. Truth is all that matters when it all boils down to it and I love the sound of Harvest Applesauce. Regular Applesauce but it's the word Harvest that does my head in.