#TheSimpleThings : Hummus


… or houmous … or hummous (if you are taking a wild orthographical stab)…

I’ve just returned from holidays; four weeks of self-satisfying and socially-acceptable selfishness where the ‘what’, ‘when’ and ‘where’ were mine alone to decide.

Holidays always involve a supermarket shop (because, I believe that the supermarket is a unique place that offers the visitor a rare insight into the non-visitor’s everyday)

Holidays always involve some sort of food discovery.

Last time it was France : madeleine …

The madeleine is simple perfection where success relies on knowledge and patience.

I read the history and the poetry and shopped for conventional wisdoms; I ate wholes and halves and crumbs and asked questions of kitchens and salons and bistrots ; I collated recipes and bought moulds and started exploring …

But I have not yet read Proust in the original French; and I believe that any exploration of the madeleine should involve a little Proust.

No comments necessary.

… laughing …

It’s a self-imposed bar.

… laughing …

And so, my musings on the alchemy of a perfect madeleine have been shelved … for the time being.

There is no Proust-shaped equivalent in the history of hummus … that I know of.

The exploration has a realistically-located end point.

This time – food discovery was Jordan : hummus. And I ate ladle, spoon and bowl-fuls; from tetrapacks, Lonely Planet-identified “Places to Eat” and self-identified holes in the wall …

And it turns out that good hummus, really good hummus, is quite the difficult concoction to achieve; contrary to better and common judgment.

It requires two things … craft and attentiveness.

In other words #TheSimpleThings …

In other words it was the perfect subject for exploration …



Not writing is just as hard as writing

I have a frequently-used hashtag – #TheSimpleThings.

Capital ‘t’, capital ‘s’, capital ‘t’.

A title.

An idea that guides what I do and how I do it … most of the time.

At work I want to know the what, why, how. In life I am trying to be more instinctive, less wedded to self-constructed rules based on social expectation. I am trying to understand, and be true to, what works best for me.

And The Simple Things include playing with words … writing.

But not just writing. Writing something of value

(def: value = impact)

The only trouble is – I don’t know what to write about.

There are too many words in the world – spoken and written – that offer no value. That are thrown, like salt, into an already over-salted soup killing the nuance, the sweetness.

And I don’t want to add to the existing cacophony; I don’t want to add to a recipe collection, or reminisce previous travel, or review the ideas of others …

So what ‘value’ to provide … what value can be plated up and served for impact?



… so no writing. Until I’ve found something ‘worthy’ to write about.

But ‘not writing’ doesn’t mean that my brain has switched off to the idea of writing. As instinctive as the flight/fight response, it identifies potential subject matter and discards the same within moments.

Searching for value without finding any.



Why is it SO hard to find …


… something that I LOVE doing?

Yes, the capitals were required.

Yes, the frustration is real.

I want to work in the agricultural / food sector … or back in the wine sector …

These are the elements that make me smile.

I want to connect French and beauty and food and wine and writing and travelling and intelligent, thought-provoking, energy-giving conversation and like minds and public speaking and innovation and work with purpose and blank sheets of paper and strategising and leading …

with a good income …

I want to muse and mull and develop and pilot.

I want to connect dots.

… for an idea that I am inspired by …


…and in the trying to find this something, this thing  to ‘love’, this thing that will feed my soul … I am … nowhere …

… or, rather, I am in a maze of mirrors- staring at my own reflection … trying to decide whether there’s a hidden door or next step forward or whether retracing my path is a better course …

Everyone talks about their ‘passion’ … very few talk about how hard it was to identify.


Joy in the shared table

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is not so much a hierarchy as a two tiered sponge cake …

The physiological needs – food, water, shelter – on which all other needs rely; the base and always the thicker twin of any cut sponge.

Self-actualisation; the top and invariably the more fragile, threatening to break until safely set in place.

And then the middle cream and jam; with time and ambient temperature, a fruit-punctuated mousse – those deficiency needs of Maslow’s: safety (personal, financial and health), love/belonging (friendship, family and intimacy) and esteem (respect from others and self).

New theories sensing that none are more, or less, important, that the other.

And as I was looking down at the needs – whether offered as the traditional pyramid or the less-traditional sponge – I was reminded of the value of a shared table; how a shared table could meet all of these needs, or assist in the meeting if all of these needs.

Food is such a large part of my life – but the majority of my meals are eaten alone …

… what, then, the impacts?