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There’s poetry in peas

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A book of verse written in the kitchen has pierced my heart like a skewer. But I’m still puzzled by its infatuation with blackcurrant leaves

If some cooks take pleasure in even the most boring tasks, I’m not one of them. Peeling potatoes, slicing carrots, making stock: I cannot do these humdrum, tedious things without the aid of a glass of wine and the radio. And the faster I whip through them, the better. Every evening is a race. I leave my desk at 7pm, and thereafter my eye constantly flicks to the clock as I work out if I can finish removing the thickest of the stalks from the kale and get the pasta on before The Archers is over. I guess you could say that I’m a journalist, programmed to run to deadlines, even in the kitchen.

I envy those who find nothing so companionable as a bowl of peas to be podded. I’d like to be one of them, calm and steady and noticing: the kind of person who would rather eat a Pot Noodle than leave a quince to rot in their fruit bowl, as I sometimes do. Even better would be to go one step further and become the sort of earthy yet lyrical human being who looks at slices of potato for a gratin, and sees the tiles of a roof, milk splashing on them like rain; who watches leaves of radicchio unfolding in a pan and thinks of a human palm, pink and gently lined; who finds the stench of wild garlic when pounded so crazily intoxicating that her head fills alarmingly with thoughts of Medea and all her crimes.

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