East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

A relaxing hobby for the long winter night

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The new year started and I crashed.
Bad health, cough and cold (but luckily no flu, so far) and then, two days ago, my brother noticed I was rambling and suggested I should take a break.
I can spend two days without writing and still make all the deadlines.
Incidentally, I have just delivered (with one week of delay) the first episode of The Curse of Fantomah to my patrons. So I’ve reason to rejoice, and take a break.

Selection_999(002)Now, I generally take a break by taking long walks in the countryside, maybe carrying my camera along.
I take long strolls along the banks of the Belbo, or into the hills.

But considering my bad health and the cold wind that’s sweeping the land, this is not a feasible option.
And yes, I have some beautiful books here to read, but now reading and writing’s become a sort of full time job, and that’s what I’m trying to take a break from, right?

And it is so I found particularly relaxing, and fun, my old hobby of cooking.
As I think I already mentioned in the past, I think taking time to prepare and consume a good meal is a healthy activity, a way to be good to ourselves, and also something that might help us staying human.

31670I have a nice stack of cookbooks and other wonders here.
Some belonged to my mother – they are the big expensive ones, filled with notes and extras cut from papers and magazines.
And then there’s the badly worn, mostly second-hand paperbacks of my own collection. Titles like Elizabeth David’s French Country Cooking (my copy is kept together with a rubber band), Miss Fisher1’s How to Cook a Wolf, and Len Deighton’s Action Cook Book.
But also Gordon Ramsey’s Fast Food and Laura Kelley Silk Road Gourmet.

But I also have weirder sources of culinary wisdom…


Just like a lot of the best things in life, cooking requires concentration and lightness of touch, courage for experimentation, curiosity and a modicum of improvisation.
It’s a great way to take one’s mind off from problems and sources of anxiety, and comes with the extra bonus that you can enjoy your meal, afterwards.

Like, now I’ll go and cook me a burger…

  1. no, not that miss Fisher. The real one. 

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

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