Hello my lovely Shedders, and a happy new year to you each individually. When I see the name of a new pledger, I get a real thrill and if I know that person's e-mail address, I usually drop a line. If I haven't contacted you that way don't think I'm any the less glad to have you in my shed. You are all very welcome here, and I'll make it as cosy as I can.
No, I haven't put any pictures on the walls, but that will come in time.
I thought I'd tell you about my foodie Christmas. I was invited by my friend Jose Maria Gonzalez, who is an amazing chef, wonderfully generous host, bon viveur, raconteur and deeply cultured. He had both his knees replaced last summer and while he was laid up he spent his time working on the perfect menu for eight people spread all over the Christmas period. Not just dinner, you understand, but lunches, too.
A real eye-opener was the trip to the giant supermarket in Motril on 23rd December. Without any doubt, the stars of the show in Spain, when it comes to the Christmas festivities, are fish and shellfish.
Did Jose order several crates of oysters? Yes, he did. Did two people risk life and limb opening them for us? Yes, they did. I had a go, but was slow. They'd got into the rhythm of it. But was it worth their effort? Absolutely. I was so impressed with the teenagers who took them in their stride.
And it reminded me of where I acquired my taste for oysters. Paris. I was taken to Brasserie Flo and the favourite treat was to order, for two, not a dozen oysters, as six each doesn't feel like quite enough. We'd order 18. Perfection.
There's a story in my book about the time my pal Denis Cahalane came on a visit, but I'm going to keep you in suspense about that. I know you're all impatient for the book to be delivered to your doorstep, but I need to reach my target, so if you know anyone who is interested in the history of Ireland seen through the prism of food and drink, do, please, tell them to go to my author's page and look at the video. They might just feel moved to pledge. And if they don't, that's too bad.
More anon, my Shedding friends.
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