I recently heard of the concept of a ‘house-cooling’ (from the infinite wisdom that is Kinfolk magazine). This is pretty self-explanatory, being the opposite of housewarming: it involves saying a fond farewell to a dwelling that has provided so many memories, and welcoming in the transition and all its exciting new developments. My friends Alex and Heather have lived on a houseboat for the past 3 years. The time has come to say goodbye to the converted Dutch barge, and they are moving out of the boat onto dry land.
I made this dark and sticky ginger and date cake to take to the ‘boat–cooling’ gathering. I felt that feeling something stodgy and spicy might be in order, not least to fuel the impending sorting and moving of an entire boat-worth of stuff. We ate the cake huddled in the warmth of the boat, feeling the calm sway of the water and remembering all the many previous days and evenings spent there. This time felt poignant given the shift in seasons too – saying farewell to the boat and farewell to summer. There was a definite fizz of excitement around the anticipation of the next exciting phase, of things to come.
My friend Clare and I were talking today about becoming grown ups. When do you become a grown up? When you ‘wear a suit and kitten heels to the office’ as Clare put it? When you have a folder marked ‘tax’? Lots of people insist that they have never grown up – I met many a thirty-something in Thailand having a ‘gap life’.
When I was at university, my housemates and I had a student food blog. It was all about how to eat nice things on a budget. One of the most memorable recipes for me was Rocky Road, made as a result of an essay-related sugar craving. In this recipe, I opted for the definitely childish combination of marshmallows, biscuits, glace cherries and the like.
However, now I have left university and am supposed to be a full-blown adult. Therefore, I chose, maturely, to include more healthy ingredients this time. Such as pistachios, walnuts and slow-release energy oat biscuits. And I renamed the recipe ‘Chocolate Biscuit Bars’, to sound more adult. This was also a more expensive alternative, one of many economic realities to hit during adulthood, I imagine. But the result was just as yummy, and we didn’t feel so guilty when scoffing it down.