A small pot of cream
Rescued by cream, two recipes, and eating notes
Hello! My name is Rebecca May Johnson, I am a writer and cook and this is my Substack. This week’s newsletter is about why I love to have a pot of cream in the fridge, with recipes and eating notes from the week.
A small pot of cream
Cream helps me to see how things can be brought into relation –
by being put in cream!
When I put things (ingredients) in cream they can have meaning: because they are in cream.
The flavours of the things I put in cream are coaxed out and magnified, but because of the cream, the flavours also become rounded. Cream gives flavours dimensions; they grow outwards, and they grow rounder. Through growing outwards, they also touch the other things I have put into the cream, and they roll all over each other.
Cream is a dialectical mixing medium that brings out the essence of things and then synthesises them.
Thank god for the dialectical energy of cream which has recently offered its services when I did not have the cognitive faculty to bring things into relation (a must for cooking).
The past few weeks we have been at the end of everything. Sam’s father died and we went away from home for a week so Sam could deal with a lifetime’s objects with his brother and sister-in-law. We returned home at the weekend to a fridge containing a scant quantity of old food and a small pot of cream. There was no time to shop and we were all exhausted, and the cream helped me realise how I could make a meal from what had seemed hopeless (recipes below).
Once a month I put a small pot of cream in the shopping basket with no direct thought as to what I will use it for. It is good to know that cream is there, like a life ring next to the coastal path. Unopened, cream lasts for months. Even after being opened, if covered, it lasts for a long time in the fridge. When I have nervously lifted the lid of cream a month past its ‘use by’ date, expecting my hopes to be dashed I have been met instead with pale sweet cream in good working order. Unexpected longevity is an important aspect of what makes cream feel miraculous when life is at a low ebb. The cream which is still good against all odds prevents me from catastrophising, and acts against the feeling that there is ‘nothing’ to cook. The sight of half a pot of cream nudges me into optimism.
A few aged or dried mushrooms can become a rich sauce to have on toast with an egg (or even, as has occurred on more than one occasion, half a soft-boiled egg each); bruised apples can be trimmed and cooked with sugar and there’s a pudding, and very often, a pasta sauce emerges. Crème fraiche can have this function too, and sometimes I buy both, though I find cream a little more versatile in its uses.
two recipes and eating notes below
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