Pamflet Salon + Gizzi Erskine = FOOD FIGHT!

And so to Drink Shop & Do for the second Pamflet salon, this time with the theme ‘food fight!’. Phoebe began with a few words… “Food has an effect on all our senses, not just taste; and as well as triggering touch, smell, sight and sound, it triggers our memory and our emotions. We associate particular foods, dishes or meals with memories of people – our granny’s roast potatoes, our mum’s vegetable soup – and moments in time, particularly childhood, as well as places. We talk about comfort food and emotional eating, use it to celebrate and commiserate. (i always  associate sausage rolls with funerals.) we can bond over it, or judge each other on it (i always had weird things like Za’atar and kumradeen in my lunchbox, and only occasionally envied the other kids their plastic ham sandwiches.) but i think we tend to assume that women have a particularly emotional relationship with food, and that’s not necessarily the case – you only have to read Nigel Slater’s autobiography, Toast, to understand that men make deep emotional associations with cooking too.’

We then welcomed chef, food writer and stylist (and DJ!) Gizzi Erskine onto the stage (well, the stagey corner) and she talked us through two of her favourite recipes from her latest book, Gizzi’s Kitchen Magic (Virgin Books, 2010). Chicken in Weeds is a luscious-sounding supper based on a dish her mum used to make and her salted, rosemary-infused millionaire’s shortbread was described in such a mouth-watering fashion that every salonette present will be baking this weekend!

Gizzi’s philosophy is ‘everything in moderation’ and she is a passionate advocate for a variety of cuisines having worked the kitchen of St John and inspected the fridges of the noble British public (in Cook Yourself Thin), believing that we should allow food to be ‘an extension of our personalities’. She’s passionate about encouraging young women to cook and eat well and is spreading the word through her column in Company magazine and her regular appearances across the media. She’s got to be one of the hardest-working chefs on the scene so it’s not surprising that she can whip up her trademark beehive in under 5 minutes (it’s awesome in real life too!).  Gizzi’s own career has been hugely influenced by her family – she remembered the books on the shelves at home ranging from Larousse Gastronomique to The Pooh Corner Cook Book and her mum’s regular dinner parties with guests like Paul and Debbie Daniels (‘kitchen magic’?) made food lots of fun.

We couldn’t have a visit from the uniquely chic and elegant Ms Erskine and not ask her about her style background and she talked to us through discovering indie via her beloved older sister’s Cure cassette aged 8 and then her various dalliances with punk and psychobilly in her teens, trying out  some serious hair experiments along the way! Right now she’s into retro-glam 60s style, wearing vintage shift dresses and swing coats and regularly selling pieces on eBay because there’s not enough room in the flat she shares with her boyfriend to keep them all. Music, then, has been much more of a style-inspiration than what’s in fashion or who she ‘should’ be wearing on the red carpet, and that’s another reason why she’s such a brilliantly unique, uncompromising woman to see in the public eye. If you don’t already have her book, we can’t recommend it highly enough.

For the second half of the evening we discussed Margaret Atwood’s groundbreaking debut novel The Edible Woman (first published in 1969 and written when she was in her early 20s) featuring Marian, a heroine with a rather complicated relationship with food (and her boyfriends). The Edible Woman‘s not Atwood’s Great Novel, but it’s an eyeopening snapshot of an age we’re all obsessed with – the early 60s when women were on the brink of a revolution but were still stuck.

Thanks as always to the gang at Drink, Shop & Do for being such wonderful hosts, Virago Books for providing the lucky salonettes with copies of The Edible Woman, Wild About Flowers for a stunning bouquet for Gizzi and, of course, Gizzi herself for being such a fascinating and stylish special guest. *hearts*

Photos courtesy of BitchBuzz.com

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