the stew… and the eulogy

Why does a stew always taste better the day after?




Last night, I cooked a chicken and butternut, warming, wintry stew.  It looked like a lovely recipe and perfect for a chilly February night.   Last night, it was tasty, but quite watery.  It didn’t have much depth of flavour, character… it wasn’t very satisfying.


But letting it sit today and rest…. And then putting it back in the aga for another few hours, it is thicker, richer, velvety… I can hear Mum saying the word ‘onctueuse’… (literal translation, smooth.. but I always think of it a more creamy, silky smooth).


I’d been avoiding sitting down and writing Mum’s eulogy.  Bambi had sent me her draft but I couldn’t read it.  I wanted to gather my thoughts first… and get them down on paper and then merge the two.  I wanted to do it yesterday, but it was raining and I had always imagined that I would write it in the glorious warmth and light of our beautiful kitchen, next to the daffodils on the kitchen table.


A friend advised that when her Dad died in similar circumstances, she found running without music helped her.  So I tried it… It didn’t work… but the running did and so did the music… I don’t really hear the words, but subliminally it triggers emotions and feelings for me and my thoughts and memories flooded through the recesses of my mind…


I let the music continue to drown out the usual daily kitchen noise (dishwasher, washing machine, dog barking… the Big Man…), opened my beloved Mac Book Pro next to the sunflowers and started to let the words flow across the page.


Then just like a stew, I walked away…  Let it simmer.


Just like a stew, I went back and tested it, tasted it…


Just like a stew, I added a sprinkle of this and that… mixed it up a bit (with my sister’s – interestingly, same ingredients, just added in a different way….)


Then just like a good stew, I am going to walk away and I am putting the lid on and leaving it to rest overnight.


Just like a good stew, I am going to take off the lid and reduce it, thicken it.  With Bambi beside me, both armed with our tools of choice, we will make it ‘onctueuse’.

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