Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner 

  
Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner 

Winner, Winner, chicken dinner! That was what we would call out when we guessed correctly which form the potatoes took every Sunday as a child.

 Sunday dinner was a must in our family. It was the only time we were allowed in mum’s kitchen to cook with her. It was mom’s belief that if she taught us to cook a Sunday roast everything else in the world would fall into place. Nothing could be more difficult than a perfectly cooked wonderfully timed Sunday dinner. If you could complete this task then nothing in the world would ever seem too complicated.

Potatoes were a debate. Mom hated peeling potatoes so that was always the assistance task. As the assistant we could decide if we; boiled the ‘Spuds’, boiled then roasted or Mashed. We could roast them in their own tray or next to the roasting joint. We could add onions or other vegetables too. Options like weather to salt the boiling water or the potatoes before we roast them and should an assistant add milk and butter when mashing or just salt and pepper? All was part of the game.

Everyone in the living room would take a guess and as we grew older we would bet our pudding on the result. This continued for many years as we were seven children strong. But dad never had to assist, he always got to guess.
 INGREDIENTS

4 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, rinsed, peeled if desired, and cut into 2-inch chunks

1 tablespoon white vinegar

Kosher salt

1/4 cup duck fat 

Freshly ground black pepper

12 sprigs thyme

DIRECTIONS

1.

Adjust oven racks to lower and upper position and preheat oven to 500°F. Place potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with cold water by 1-inch. Add 2 tablespoons salt and vinegar. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to a simmer, and cook until exteriors are tender, about 5 minutes. Potatoes should show a slight resistance when poked with a paring knife or a cake tester. Drain potatoes and transfer to a large bowl.
2.

Add fat to bowl with potatoes. Season with pepper and more salt to taste then toss with a large metal spoon until exteriors are slightly bashed up and coated in a thin layer of potato/fat paste. Divide potatoes evenly between two heavy rimmed baking sheets. Spread thyme sprigs over potatoes.
3.

Transfer baking sheets to the oven and roast until the bottoms of the potatoes are crisp and golden brown, about 20 minutes total, swapping top the trays top for bottom and rotating them once half way through roasting. Using a thin metal spatula, flip the potatoes and roast until the second side is golden brown, another 15 to 20 minutes. Discard thyme sprigs, and serve.

Week 5 Creative Writing with WEA

Q; Write a scene in which two people engage in a heated quarrel, include both dialogue and descriptive body language, try to portray feelings as well as telling the reader about the characters.

He was in the house again. Sophie could hear the heavy steps of her father in the hallway, she could hear the soft scuttling of her mother in the kitchen. Tonight was going to be different. He had promised them, no more, no more arguing or fighting.

“Kristie did you need something?” David could see the papers, his papers, on his desk, they had been moved.

“No, I’m fine the children are all in bed. How were Frank and Grace? Did you fix their computer?” Kristie asked as light hearted and natural as she could, although in the back of her mind she wondered. Had she moved the papers? Had she been cleaning near there today and knocked them? Or had the children run past the desk when playing, maybe they had moved them accidently?

“What? Do you really want an answer to your stupid questions? Would I be here now if I hadn’t fixed the god dame computer? Frank and Grace are the same as yesterday when you saw them in the supermarket. They thought that I would like to hear all about the wonderful afternoon they spent talking to you in Wal-Mart” He dropped into his office chair and put his black leather bag beside it. He looked at the coffee rings on his desk, typical he thought. she’s out shopping all day and hasn’t even wiped the desk over. He dared to look over at the sink, yep washing up still waiting on the side from dinner. He had been able to fix a hard drive and explain office 2000 to an old man yet again since dinner, but what had she done? Not even the dishes.

“Would you like a coffee? Have you got much more to do?” Kristie thought it best to just change the subject. She realized too late she done that double question thing he hated so much. Her heart began to beat a pace faster she clenched her teeth. Had he noticed? Of course he’s noticed but will say anything?

David rolled his eyes to the back of his head. Why did she do that? She didn’t used to that dumb, babbling question after question. Kristie used to be funny and smart, most of all she used to be helpful. He took a deep breath in and spun his chair around to face her. Oh god she was doing the face, the face told him she was either going to walk away or start crying for no reason.

“How about you answer my question first” he began

“Sorry, which question?” Kristie couldn’t recall not answering a question, she was always careful to listen. She knew how important it was to David that you must listen. His eyes were beginning to burn into her, best look at the floor. I mustn’t give him cause to be angry with me. I mustn’t wake the children.

“Why were you snooping in my papers?” he was sure now, Kristie was defiantly up to something. She couldn’t even look him in the eye that said everything he needed to know!

Sophie hugged her legs behind her bedroom door, she listened in the darkness. Yes, he was in the house again.

Week 3 Creative Writing with WEA

Q In 400 words or less write from the title “when i was twenty”

When I was twenty

Twenty at last I’m no longer a teen. Today I have gone out on my own, out into London’s busy streets. Like a bird I glide on the wind, my mind going on its flowing and I’m glancing at faces I do not know. I purposely did not make plans for this day; I wanted to see what being twenty would do with me, but I have walked all morning without reason and my function irrational leaves my brain numb. I see two young men sat in a small garden square on blue bench they seen happy to be there so I ask if I might join them.  It isn’t long before we commence a conversation about how we came to be sat on the blue bench together.

Tom (not his real name I could tell by the way he struggled to say it,) left home when he was 16 years old. He’s now 20 and is still technically homeless, relying on a hostel in London to keep him safe at night. Tom managed to survive the long cold nights and days on end without food, but he wouldn’t advise anybody else to do what he has done. He pulls his coat collar up but it’s no colder now than when we had sat, the same chill seems to nag at my fingertips also.

Liam, who is twenty and from Sunderland became homeless when things became too tough to carry on living at home, He spoke about how finding a bed for the night and food to eat became a daily struggle. Liam says being homeless was a shock. He talks about finding shelter from the cold and rain, about sometimes surviving without food for three or four days. Things are now looking brighter for Liam because he’s getting help to look for a job and somewhere to live thanks to a local hostel.

Small tiny drops of rain now fall from the sky and I say my goodbyes, Lonely and colder than ever before I don’t drift anymore homeward bound and thankful for it.