It’s alive! The Carnival of IndieWeb, that is, with the first monthly roundup from Sara Jakša, who started this ball rolling. I looked at them all, because that’s a key point of blog carnivals, to discover things you might not otherwise have found.

Sara’s own entry described her very brave decision to make crème brûlée for the first time, inspired by a Manga character. The way she figured things out was inspiring, and I was very happy at the end, when she discovered that her creation was very good. I am lucky enough to have both shallow ramekins that are more suitable than cups or mugs, and a broiler to crystallise the sugar, but I still don’t often make “fancy” desserts. I will say, though, that hot raspberries sounds like a very good idea over ice cream. Oh, and: meringues are the best way to use up egg whites. That or whiskey sours, if you are into cocktails.

Tracy Durnell offered a synoptic view of her current approach to cooking illustrated by some yummy-looking and unstaged photos. I found the ways that she had adapted to Covid and to somewhat straitened circumstances illuminating, and very different to my own current approach. In the first six months of the year, she got take-out 62 times. I never get take-out. On the other hand, we probably eat out once a week on average. The discussion of what to have for dinner, and reliance on a tried and tested favourites, sounded very familiar.

James writes about how cinnamon “feels warm, welcoming. A scent of which I never get tired”. Has he heard, I wonder, about the supposed estate agent’s trick of toasting bread with a bit of cinnamon before showing a property to buyers, in the belief that the warm, homey smell will make the place seem irresistible? I don’t care for cinnamon on coffee; cinnamon cake with coffee is a different matter. Cardamom is even better, as in cardamom coffee with a Swedish-style cardamom bun.

From Jo, neither recipes nor food philosophy but poetry, which makes a very pleasant change. Her silly little cooking sonnet is charming and, though she thinks otherwise, rather good. Jo says “art does not have to be good as long as it is fun,” and she is of course correct. Will she return to the poem to tweak if? If so, I think there may be a typo in line 9. This is also the first time I’ve seen a “Written by human, not by AI” in the wild. Two thoughts. What would AI make of a sonnet about cooking? And do I need to add that badge to my own output? (No.)

It was an eye-opener to read Yousef Amar’s reflections on his attitude to food. It really is “just fuel” for him, which is utterly alien to me. I just hope he is getting decent nutrition, because the consequences of long-term poor nutrition have an insidious way of sneaking up on you. Like me, he mentions attempts to give structure to recipes, which is a counterpoint to Sara’s note that early recipe books assumed that the cooks had trained and mastered most of the techniques, so might need only reminders of ingredients and quantities.

This month’s carnival is hosted by James and focuses on Moments of Joy. I could cheat, and say that this new manifestation of blog carnivals is a great joy to me, but I won’t. Plenty of other things give me joy, so I am sure to find bigger fish to fry.

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