Monday 22 June 2015

We have a new table

I’d never done the math. That’s the first thing I thought when I saw all those pastries piled high, like lobsters crowding a fish tank. Danishes are, of course, from Denmark. All those miles of dough I’ve unravelled. Dunked. And never once with a thought to the genius nation from whence they came. But now, there they were. Threatening to roll over the cinnamon rolls, which, now I thought about it, I did know were Danish.

I had a fresh-off-a-5-a.m.-flight flash of reasoning. Denmark, responsible for at least two of the world’s best-known pastries must, therefore, be a land of many many pastries. I had four hours before my connection. I had four hours to try all I could.

I woke up over Greenland, another moment of discovery. Greenland, according to the dimension of airplane window 23C, is black rock jetting up from the ocean. The ocean seems to run within and through it and is sometimes ice, very blue or black. When I looked it up, I read that the ice sheet covering the island has pushed the land down 300m below sea-level to form a basin. 

Newark, New Jersey is a swamp. A swamp sunk with industry. I was welcomed to the United States of America by a party of 50 cranes and a facefull of air conditioning.

I spent the next two days on the 38th floor of the World Trade Centre, cooking. Cooking in Bon Appetit's test kitchen. More marble than you could shake a stick at and when you got a fork from where the forks are kept, you faced skyscrapers.

We were shooting spring food and when I arrived in Connecticut it felt like high summer. I’ve had my first corn of the season, gone barefoot and battled mosquitoes in bare legs. 

Back to New York and up other magazine towers. This time a day at Good Housekeeping learning the properties of dry ice. Next was one day out of 10 watching the experts make ready meals ready to be shot looking like a meal. In between there were loaded pizzas, a face-sized pastrami sandwich, my first knish, cheddar cheese flavoured ice cream and dinners with the people that got me there.

Three weeks later and I have a new postcode. I live on a boarder in a big room with a table that fills half of it. The fridge is a yellow-striped smeg which, when it was delivered, made me a little afraid because it made the corner glow. Now it looks like it's on permanent vacation. 

We're drinking drip-coffee out of pickle jars and eating pickles off my prop plates. The relic filter drips out coffee at record speeds next to a huge grinder from the restaurant worth a 1000 euros in blades but the mortar's pestle is now only a 3/4 of what it used to be pre-move. We're so used to cooking by candlelight that ever since we put a light in the kitchen, I've not seen it on; whereas there's been a fire on every day of the last two weeks of June. A vacation of sorts. 
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