“There is a term in Japanese: ichi-go ichi-e. It describes the unrepeatable nature of a moment and, although it specifically refers to traditional tea ceremonies, it can also be used to describe all facets of our lives, including food and cooking. It prompts me to appreciate the daily meals shared with my family at our table, the centre of our home… “

Simple cooking is what I’ve always known and loved. It is the sort of food I grew up eating – thoughtful, considered and uncomplicated, in the best possible way. If we had good ingredients to begin with, little was needed to make a beautiful meal. This idea was reawakened by my time in the Italian countryside, a place which profoundly impacted the way I cook. I was reminded again years later, this time in Japan, where even the most basic ingredients are cherished, seasons are auspicious and uncomplicated cooking is celebrated. Food and family are so intertwined. While cooking for family is, of course, to satisfy hunger, it is so much more. ‘Family food’ is generous and unfussy and demonstrates love and care – it is perfectly imperfect. For me, it is also about making rituals and creating special moments together; even something as simple as eggs on toast can be a joyous occasion when you are all together around a dining table. That notion of being together and sharing food at a table is a practice that is often lost in the busyness of our lives. No matter what the day has brought us, the dependable act of setting the table and enjoying a simple meal is comforting and ever-reassuring. JULIA BUSUTTIL NISHIMURA

 

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