Three sumptuous-looking fillets of cod sat on my kitchen counter and all I could think of was my mother.
In a made-for-TV moment, the wall in front of me blurred, some jingly-ghostly music played in my head and suddenly it was 1969 and I was sitting on the counter in the family kitchen, my mother all blonde-dyed hair and (too) short flowery dress with her hands working vigorously as she mashes a dozen and more potatoes to feed the family.
She’s making fish poached in milk over mash with a mountain of peas on the side… one of my favourites… that we eat with spoons. I love the way the peas swim in the milky, buttery, parsley-flecked liquor from the fish pan and how the cod dissolves into the mash to the point where only flavour distinguishes one from the other. If food could be fabric, this dish is a comforter made entirely of cashmere.
Forty years later and I am re-creating my mother’s comfort from vivid memory, no instructions needed. It tastes just like she made it and, doubtless, just like her mother before her.
My daughter devours it and another heirloom is passed down.
I love food.