Comedian and food fiend Jessica Fostekew puts her mouth where others fear to tread. A celebration of eating: from posh nosh to kebab shops to stuff that’s been on the floor. This week, Jess emerges from her babymoon with tales of yummy food and kindness.
I have been on my ‘babymoon’. No, it’s not a tiny moon and no, it’s not a baby’s arse. It’s a brief but beautiful few weeks after you’ve heaved a person out, that you spend with that new person.
For me, it was a time of casually flipping between the most intense love and the most intense terror I’ve ever known. My new son, Rudy, never far from my tits. From these (once we’d worked out what we were doing) he syphons his life-force. There’s enough to share but still, it took (still takes) some crazy-hard work. I was (and am) like a giant, dozy raisin.
You can’t move much in these first weeks and here comes the perk. Everyone brings you food. I sat there, surrounded by ever-growing piles of delicious offerings. Like a human Buddhist shrine.
Mikey, my beloved, isn’t a natural kitchen-frequenter. In his own words, he doesn’t “cook”. He “heats things up”. So, at the end of my pregnancy I did the recommended thing and froze lots of meals. But I must have been owed some mucky karma. Days before Rudy arrived the freezer broke. When we got home from hospital we were met by the novel stench of many rotten lasagnes.
We couldn’t afford takeaways or those swanky posh ready-meal services, but we still swerved disaster. How? With the love of a good microwave, the fact that you don’t need to cook fruit or salad and a constant, month-long stream of mouth-gifts. Oh the cakes!
First though, Mikey’s chef-ing efforts need some lauding. He made me some mean breakfasts. One in particular was a master-feast. It had bacon and eggs from the new butchers up the road. The bacon was so thick and juicy. When you have that sort of treat it makes you realise how much water and crap is pumped into most bacon. This was the bacon equivalent of a hot chocolate made with thick real chocolate and whole creamy milk, if normal bacon is sachets of ‘Options’ with boiled water.
The eggs were exciting too. They were from a local farm and they tasted so rich and were, again, just so solid with flavour. Six for £2: that’s cheaper than organic ones are in most supermarkets. I feel lucky to have somewhere selling this stuff open up near me, especially living in London. Mikey had fried the eggs so that they were only just done. How bold! With mushrooms, beans and toast. Yes please.
Another late morning, a plate arrived with toast and scrambled eggs. The beautiful man had finely cut a load of spring onions into the eggs. What a clever touch. That fresh onion flavour is so sexy in with the dirge that ‘just eggs’ can sometimes be. Even more impressive, he steamed some yummy spinach on the side. When you’re drained of energy the lovely earthy iron tastes like some sort of glorious elixir.
Of the meals he rustled up the one which most defied his skill-set was, one night, a blooming roast chicken. I’d be neck deep in the internet for rules before attempting that. Actual crunchy roasties, from scratch. A juicy-meated, crispy-skinned roasted bird, from scratch. And a whole Dover cliff-top of peas, because those other things were tricky enough, thank you. It was hilariously massive and delicious. In other words, I was very well looked after indeed.
Now for the sugary things. Oh, we were spoiled. Mary and Joseph might have got all different types of incense and shit for their baby, but we got homemade carrot cake. My friend Sam brought it round still hot and iced it here, live, while cuddling the baby. What a woman. Our ultra-kind neighbour Zehra and her three-year-old daughter Ayla made us the best chocolate cake I’ve ever had. It looked pale and moist and must have been made with real chocolate instead of dusty, bitter cocoa. It was so light and squishy and so extremely chocolatey.
My cousin George made us a fridge cake, with chocolate and cherries and biscuit. We couldn’t stop eating it. Like mouth crack, it just got wolfed and wolfed until it was gone, seemingly in just hours.
Other wonderful, mindful and memorable offerings which went down (our mouths) a storm were many. There was Itsu sushi, M&S panang curry and cans of gin and tonic from my dear pal Caroline. These all tasted of a life I thought was maybe lost forever.
My cousin Dan brought us M&S crispy duck and pancakes that tasted of very decadence itself. And praise be, too, and thank you for every other truffle, chocolate and tin of Refresher bars. They’ve all made the long, wakeful and sometimes maddening nights that bit sweeter.
In so many ways, Rudy’s arrival has made me a very lucky lady.
That butchers I was on about is in Ladywell, south east London. They’re all about ethical butchery, if that’s not oxymoronic:
Jessica Fostekew is a writer, comedian, actor, law degree-waster, sister, daughter and beard-fan with an unabashed food infatuation.