Friday: misty, drizzling, the world surrounded in thick prepcipitate; the end of the week and full of fatigue you approach the last day of work with that strange mix of dread and joy. For today you will have to draw from deeper, strive further but you will be rewarded with the holy grail of Time, in which you can be yourself.
Naturally the world will seek to take this from you, with arrangements, chores and commitments that you have or will make. Yet the time that looms in your life gives an energy to the final hours of the working week.
The taste of freedom creates a longing: for holidays, for 'me time', for the comfort of the bed, and the call of the wild. It is a harbinger of food and drink, of festivity and rest, and not a little time absorbed in the escapism of TV or the written word. In my case time off means time to roam - both physically and imaginatively. I like to walk, to 're-see' the space around me, to look at new places and spaces, see shapes and colours, contrasts and compliments that surprise me. I also like to walk in my mind - especially when it comes to food.
To me this is the time of year of deep bass flavours: chillis infused with coffee and cinnamon; Toad in the Hole with thyme, onion gravy and peas; stews woven through with fennel, bay and wine; oozy potatoes in a quick dauphinoise; cauliflower and broccoli in a rich cheese sauce speckled with bacon and breadcrumbs; baked apples and stewed plums with chewy rasins and the crunch of brown sugar; and soon, to the delight of my wife, mulled spices of cloves, nutmeg, citrus and honey - whether in wine or cider.
These are foods that pound thuding tribal rhythms; they bring comfort and security, yet add in flavours that provoke dreams and leaps of imagination; flavours that move from the crisp simplicity of the summer months, to the more complex and murky autumn - a time of the living and the dead, tinged with the whiff of gun powder, and the solemnity of the year's end (or in my mind Pumpkin, Parkin and (roast) Potatoes). A time of ambiguity, where we reflect on the gamit of our natures and draw upon narratives and myths that have created and ended the world, and seek to understand them further.
It is in our food that we revel in our layers of being, so only natural that with some bacon, thyme, and treacle we also give layers to our (baked) beans.