Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Dieting Schmieting, and a Cheerio to a Ludlow Baker (unedited) - South Shropshire Journal 10/1/14

I generally buy newspapers at weekends solely for their food columns. Recipes, restaurants and so on. During the first couple of weeks of January I tend to avoid the papers altogether: reading about detoxing and how to live off only 100 calories per day doesn't float my boat. It sinks it, quickly. My own Body Mass Index has remained happily at the scrawny end of the scale for a very long time. 6’ 2” and 12 stones. Not sure how, genetics maybe. On the outside I’m slim. Inside, I’m sure my arteries are crying for help and are as fat as Vanessa Feltz.

If you want dieting advice, I’m not your man so instead I’ll issue a quick paean to one of Ludlow’s great food heroes, sadly now late of this parish, (in a not dead, but moving-on sense of the term) Peter Cook. I’ve mentioned Peter in this column before, but January’s a dry month for foodwriters (unless you’re doing dieting, which I’m not) so I’ll mention him again. Peter was the head baker at S C Price & Sons, Ludlow’s best bakery. He bakes the best bread I’ve ever eaten, and whist I’m sure Price’s will do fine without Peter, he’ll be a great loss to the gastronomic canon of this town. Not only did Cook fill Ludlow’s bellies with lovely loaves, he was also instrumental in setting up – and continuing the success of – the Ludlow Food Festival. He’s done all sorts of other stuff in promoting this county too, but he’s a mate and I don’t want to make him feel too smug. The splitter.

Since announcing my departure from Ludlow Food Centre, rumours have been abounding about ME. All terribly exciting. So I’ll confirm it right here, and right now that I will be not only be taking on Ludlow’s De Greys, but also the Mail Room, Deli on the Square, and working with my pal Will Holland at his new place in Bridgnorth.

I’m messing with you. All will become clear soon. Should you give a toss, which amazingly some people do!

To renege on my ‘January’s a dry month’ bit, I nearly forgot about marmalade. Greengrocers are now drowning in Seville oranges, useless fruits for anything other than marmaladery. Make your own, I urge you. I do a batch with chunky peel, as it should be, and one without ‘bits’ for my wife who frankly needs to grow up. Marmalade is the great lotion for toast. Like HP Sauce, it makes one feel truly proud to be British (don’t worry, this is still the SSJ, not the Daily Mail). Ideally, let your marmalade steep for a year after which its depth and mystery will truly reveal themselves. 

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