Chris Gordon’s self-isolation cooking diary: Week 8
In this final instalment of Chris Gordon’s self-isolation cooking diary, she looks to planning a future feast in gratitude of others.
Likely, you are reading this column because you are part of the Readings family. You believe that independent bookshops make a difference to our community, that they are worthy of support. And as restrictions around Covid-19 begin to relax and our social parameters change, I want to take a moment to thank everyone who read my words and reached out to me to chat about what I was cooking.
The prospect of having five people visit our homes in Victoria has me dreaming of a feast like no other. I wish I could invite all my work colleagues that have been keeping Readings going throughout this dreadful period of time. Several have worked such long hours that they deserve more than a home-cooked meal, but it’s what I can offer. It will need to be a meal that suits many different palates, and one that needs to involve a fair bit of booze. On my invitation wishlist is everyone who kept Readings going throughout this dreadful time – those answering customer queries, fulfilling online orders, packing books, delivering books; those keeping on top of constant stock changes, chatting to customers on social media, hosting digital events; those handling the nitty-gritty, those managing the chaos behind the scenes.
And I already know the cookbook with which to design the menu for this dream feast: Falastin by Sami Tamimi and Tara Wigley. This glorious cookbook is a love letter to Palestinian food, and a consideration of how and why we eat together. It’s full of food for sharing and laughing over – homely and delicious, and all heart.
One of the Falastin dishes under consideration for the feast is an aubergine, chickpea and tomato bake. This tray bake can be prepared in the early hours of the day and cooked slowly over the afternoon. There will also be warm hummus served alongside freshly baked flatbread (by my local grocer of course – what am I? Superwoman?) and my own freshly made Shatta. This delicious hot sauce is a combination of lemon juice and chillies, and not for the faint-hearted. There will also be a salad packed with green vegetables and leaves, and Tamimi’s Chicken Musakhan – another yummy tray bake. Really, Falastin is a perfect cookbook for families and gatherings.
In truth, the real trick with this meal is finding a way and time to gather everyone together. It may take some effort, but it now feels possible to look forward to a time where we can all be together and simply take a deep breath.
(And please note that I will not be making banana bread, sourdough, or pickles ever, ever again. I am completely sick of these dishes.)