I used to share an office with a girl called Tori. We worked on sexual and reproductive public health campaigns, which is as much fun as it sounds. In our office cupboard there were banana penises for use in condom demonstrations. And one project on my list was called 'Safer Sex Beliefs and Practices of Multi-Partnered Heterosexuals', which researched how swingers negotiated safe sex in order to use the information to design better safe sex campaigns for the general population.
Rock and roll!
I remember once at work, when I was pregnant with Ivy, we decided to do that trick where you swing a wedding band over your big belly to determine the sex of the baby. If it swings in circles, it's a boy. If it goes back and forth, its a girl.The problem was we couldn't find a wedding ring on any of the two floors and clinic next door. It was that kind of office. Eventually we used somebody's lesbian commitment band, I think.
Very good times.
Tori and I have dropped into different lives now. Tori is based in London, knocked up with her own first child, and writes the wonderful cooking blog eatori. Her first book 'A Suitcase And A Spatula' has just been published.
Where Tori always had glamour, I was always tucking my skirt into my undies on the way back from the toilet. We share a love of food and cooking, but I doubt Tori's fettucine ever turns out like one massive clump of play-doh.
Where I am hit-and-miss, Tori is always on target. Recently she wrote about cooking her pasta in water to which she had added a whole lemon. Brilliance! Here is her recipe for lemon creme fraiche and parmesan pasta.
So far, I have learned to dry the pasta on floured tea-towels, rather than over a door, and to leave the rolled sheets to dry for fifteen minutes before cutting them into spaghetti or fettuccine or penis shapes. I am experimenting with how many eggs are optimal, and whether or not adding olive oil to the dough is good or idiotic.If you have pasta-making hints for me, I would love to hear them.
Kitchen experimenting is always gratifying, especially when you are a feeder who has made the inspired choice of an overgrown seagull for a husband. A good sauce will make up for many ills.
And if, like me, you like to tune out the squabbling of children and listen to podcasts while you cook, here is Nigella Lawson talking about her love for Italy on the Splendid Table podcast.