By Marion Halligan

When you can be able to concurrently perform laziness and purity you'll consume pretty much, as the foodstuff may be easy and good.'

In prose as sensuous and seductive as a superb wine and a delectable dish, Marion Halligan takes us together with her on a wandering trip into her novels, among previous and current, throughout continents and on lengthy sea voyages, with even a sojourn or in France. The style of reminiscence has us sitting in gardens - or labouring in them - in addition to at tables. And it celebrates the good oral culture of chefs all through time who cross on recipes out of the affection of buddies and nutrients.

The flavor of reminiscence invitations us to examine the area and locate it sturdy.

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You can add a little chili if you like it. TasteofMemory24-6-04 6/10/04 10:26 PM Page 32 32 | T h e t a s t e o f m e m o r y And the oysters? Eighteen were eaten at the beginning of the steamed fish meal—it’s Friday night, the end of the week, a time for eating well—with pepper, lemon juice, brown bread and butter. I was trained to be very pure in my oyster eating, and these small sweet Clyde River oysters are perfect like this. But the six left over: I mix a little almond oil (or else very mild olive) with some sherry vinegar and spoon it over them, add some cut up chives, and put them in a 200° oven for three minutes, in a shallow patty-cake tin to hold them steady.

I put them in a bowl in the middle of the table with a bottle of olive oil and one of vinegar and another bowl of basil leaves. Sea salt and black pepper to grind. Everybody took a tomato and made their own salad. I bought some sausages from the good butcher, he does boudin blanc, literally white puddings, very delicate poached sausages of chicken and veal. I cooked these gently in two frying pans, setting guests to watch them. There were plenty of people about to help, especially opening wine bottles, everybody was very hyped up and you had to speak quite loudly and firmly to them as they stood about the kitchen still in the conversations of the day.

Maybe we’ll cook a dish, or several. And quite likely we won’t. Maybe TasteofMemory24-6-04 6/10/04 10:26 PM Page 50 50 | T h e t a s t e o f m e m o r y we’ll look at the pictures. The pictures: I think this is where cookbooks lose their innocence, lose their moral high ground. They are still beautiful as objects, but what are they about? Is there food after coloured pictures? is a question I ask myself. Or do we gaze at them instead of cooking them? Look at a gorgeous creation like Stephanie Alexander and Maggie Beer’s Tuscan Cookbook: the pictures are about a lifestyle, with their faïence plates, vine-covered terraces, rustic chairs; they’re very sexy, in this odd meaning of the word, they fill us with envy for this way of life that glossy photography will tell us how to recreate on the other side of the world.

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