About this time two years ago I bought a small (70cm square), table, on the assumption that it would enable me to carry out a substantial amount of kitchen prep while seated (no room for even a perching stool in my kitchen).

Like most things affordable these days, it was self-assembly. It was also heavy which, as I was in the process of starving almost to death at the time, meant I couldn’t even lift the buggerdly thing, never mind assemble it. And if I had been able to, it turned out I had no room for it.

Today, I have room, and I’ve been able to assemble it. Still can’t lift it but I was able to drag it into the living room and put it together.

This is it:-

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I have a new project – food dehydration…

For many years I’ve used dehydrated vegetables. Initially in pre-prepared meals (by me), for backpacking trips, before it dawned on me that carrying money was a better option, especially in the UK, but in recent years in the kitchen. I also used them to make vegetable powders, very useful for adding flavour to almost anything.

Then my supplier was taken over by another company, and quality plummeted.

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Amazon weirdness…

For an organisation which built its empire on books, Amazon really doesn’t know much about those of us who consider ourselves avid readers.

For instance, they measure their Kindle battery life at half an hour’s reading a day. This enables them to claim absurdly, unrealistically, long battery life, which would be dishonest were it not for the fact Continue reading

Elizabeth David and Company…

The Company being the apparent legion of writers who drifted in and out of David’s life, some to become lifelong friends, others just passing through, plus, peripherally, those she reviewed for assorted publications. Many of them look as if they’d provide entertaining, often deeply eccentric, reading in their own right, and are interesting enough for me to seek out their books.

Obviously, most, probably all, are Continue reading

The tale of a biscuit…

I’m randomly dipping into Elizabeth David’s “An Omelette and a Glass of Wine” – a collection of some of her journalism both published and not, the latter demonstrating that she was just as capable of writing rubbish as the rest of us, which is reassuring, and, as I’m about to relate, some of  it actually got published.

In an article entitled Summer Holidays (originally published in The Spectator, August 24, 1962, though the narrative is clearly set in the past), David relates the discovery of a hitherto unsuspected Continue reading

On depression, food, and how the end of the world is NOT coming!

On Twitter, @ME_forME, who describes herself as “Just a girl raising awareness for the neuro-immune disease Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME)”, posed the question “ME patients…wondering what your plans are for Christmas. Will you be able to join in and if not how does that make you feel?”.

To which I responded, as I’ve said here, that I’d cancelled Christmas some years ago, and as a result remain stress-free. That, for the most part, is perfectly true, but the human organism is nothing if not perverse, and the depression that has laid waste to far too many Christmases in the past 20-odd years – leading to its cancellation – seems to have decided to sneak up and bite me in the arse again this year. Doubtless because Continue reading

Flipback – a crime against books…

There is – god help us all – “A revolutionary new book format”. It’s called Flipback, and its pages are printed horizontally. This means it also opens horizontally, making it somewhat less easy to hold. Books aren’t the format they are by chance and the reason that, over the centuries, a different format hasn’t usurped the familiar one is simple – there is no need for it.

So, first question – other than just because they can – why did they do this? It’s so books can be the same shape as a smartphone (I’ve got news for you, guys, it’s Continue reading

Kindle and the Death of Books…

Ever since the Kindle 3 appeared – I got mine in the first tranche, so I’ve been particularly sensitive to this – the Guardian has been running articles, of varying levels of sanity, speculating on whether the Kindle – ignoring all other similar devices (yes I know the Kindle is the biggie in this market, but it’s not alone) – is going to destroy the book-publishing industry, make books obsolete, diminish reading standards (most recently, and WTF?), or any other crackpot theme they can dream up. Mainly, though, they are obsessed with the Death of Books.

Obviously, I can’t speak for Continue reading

Stranger in a Strange Land revisited?

The Guardian says of  James Frey’s new book The Final Testament of the Holy Bible, that it “…is all about the second coming of Christ, who returns to earth as a promiscuous bisexual drug user who performs euthanasia, approves of abortion, impregnates a prostitute, and preaches a gospel in which there is no afterlife, no holy judgment (sic) and no supernatural deity, only love.” Continue reading

Anti-Amazon campaign is futile…

Jeff Waxman, of 57th Street Books and the Seminary Co-op Bookstores in Chicago, has launched an anti-Amazon campaign on his website, says the Guardian.

While, I have to say, I agree with much of what Waxman says, I think such a position is untenable as I, like most people, want affordable books, and I also want them delivered, something many independents can’t do. And Amazon, by the way, didn’t Continue reading