Good food tends to be more temperate. Good bread can be revived and reused for many different purposes. You can take a three day old chelsea bun, slice it in two and toast it. With a thin layer of butter it is restored to something just as delectable as day one.
But some things need immediate attention. Chief among these are the spring greens, chard and kale. They are prone to wilt and/or lose their natural sweetness if you don’t look to get them in a pan soon after you get them – two or three days. This is also very true for seafood – and the safety of the food is a consideration here too. Meat will last a little longer, but you need to think about cooking it or freezing it fairly soon after you pick it up.
“Eat your greens” is often the call to unwilling children. But for all of us it’s a better decision – they’re at their best at their freshest. Slightly bizzarely some fish are even better when they are not totally fresh. Skate wings for instance. But things like tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, potatoes all last a good deal of time – they like to be kept at a fairly stable temperature, quite low and out of the light for spuds, but not necessarily in a fridge.
Having picked up my drop on Thursday I, naturally, helped myself to the pie first. Because, as David Ginola once said, “I’m worth it”. (Pretty sure he didn’t eat all the pies though). A hard week deserves some immediate gratification. But yesterday I had my crab with linguine (and a little sauteed onion, chilli and parsley from the garden). And a big plate of finely chopped and dressed spring greens on the side. Although a few minutes in boiling water might be a good idea for the greens. Then tonight it’s the mussels – if they’re dead then they won’t open and if they’re cracked you should bin them – with a toasted levain and salad. Weekend lunches will be beautiful bread, cheeses, salad and beer. And on Sunday for a family get together, we’ll butterfly the leg of lamb (take it off the bone and help it spread out into one steak) and barbecue it, to go with potatoes chopped up quite small for roasting with garlic and rosemary. And a lemon meringue pie to follow.
For the rest of the week? Whatever’s left. Omelettes, still slightly oozing their cheese filling, will go with toasted bread and salads. And then I’ll probably eat the broccoli wishing I’d had it when it was in better nick.