Today was a bit of a non-starter. I just didn’t feel the urge to create something new and wonderful.
Instead, I was struck with a sense of saudade.
There is no word like it in the English language. It’s a Portuguese word which means:
“The feeling of longing for something or someone that you love and which is lost.”
Do you ever get a memory of a food that you’ve eaten before? It could have been as a child or even just earlier that day. And all you can think is “Damn, I wish I had that right now!”.
That is what I have been feeling.
Damn, I miss that sandwich.
I’ve been trying to think of a word which will perfectly encapsulate what it is that I’m trying to get across but words seem to fail me. I tried foodstalgia (I’m not a fan of portmanteau), gastronomic heartache (which sounds like something Jane Eyre’s chef would say). I just can’t come up with the word.
Is there already a word? I’m dying to know!
I kept thinking of a cheese toastie I made. I was chicken, mozzarella and gouda, sun-dried tomatoes and it was on some kind of fancy bread. I managed to toast it perfectly even though I burned my hands on the toaster trying to press it all down.
Everyone has a food like that. Something that sometimes paralyses their instinct to eat even though you’re really hungry. You can think about other meals but at the back of your mind, it just won’t be the same.
This led to a rather uninspiring choice of brunch for me. (I don’t actually brunch, I just missed breakfast and it was technically before lunch, so… brunch).
Nevertheless, it was a meal which has become a stalwart for these fair isles. Something which American people can’t seem to grasp the beauty of. And if anyone reading this is from over the pond, I implore you to give it a chance. You will not regret it.
In case you haven’t already figured it out, that meal is the simple, yet effective, beans on toast.
Some of you, right at this moment, are looking off into the distance and remembering the last time you had this inexplicably incredible dish. The rest are wondering what the Hell I’m talking about.
I’ll address the latter.
Beans on toast is a dish which comes in many forms. There probably isn’t a single person who lives in Britain who hasn’t had it in one form or another. It’s simple, it’s filling and it’s just right. It is like a cosmic balancing in the universe.
People share articles about the efficacy of bacon as a hangover cure or how chicken soup can heal your soul and yet, they neglect a perfect meal in an imperfect world (sorry, I was reading comic books so I’m feeling quite theatrical). A simple helping of haricot beans in a tomato
A simple helping of haricot beans in a tomato sauce, served either on top of or alongside a couple of slices of crunchy, crispy toast (more often than not, slathered in butter).
It is the perfect kind of magic. No smoke and mirrors, no technical skill. The ease of its creation is almost sleight of hand.
So, once again, I beg anyone who hasn’t tried it. Get yourself a tin of beans, find some decent bread and just enjoy this humble delight.
Just don’t take pictures of it. It’s not a pretty dish.
On a more positive note, I made a pretty decent wrap today (that’s the picture at the top).
It is, I should say was because I crammed that thing in my mouth so fast you would think that someone was going to take it away from me. Sorry, it was a halloumi, spinach and hummus wrap with a lemon and pepper dressing. And it was fantastic.
Tonight, I’m going to make a spinach, pea and walnut pesto pizza with tomato and mozzarella. Which I will enjoy with a nice glass of rum and ginger whilst watching Batman cartoons because I’m a grown up…