Saturday, October 18, 2008

My Mum's Corned Beef Hash

Old Court Gate
Originally uploaded by Suzi Edwards
It starts with marking anniversaries. First week without, first month alone. First my birthday, first of yours. Time passes, and you count two years, ten months and seventeen days of without. Eventually you realise that before you thought of life as moving forwards, but now you're moving from.

Today would have been my mum's 69th birthday. Today feels like a good day to remember her.

When someone you love dies unexpectedly, you don't lose them all at once. I remember waking up the morning after she died, on the floor of the lounge in Coventry.and wondering what I was doing there. Now, admittedly, it's not *entirely* unusual for me to not know where I am when I wake up. Too much travel and too many wild nights out have got me used to that. So I was having a moment of early morning woozy-snugglyness. And then I caught up to myself in the present tense and remembered she was gone.

With hindsight, these are some of the worst moments of all. I don't think the human mind is very good at dealing with sudden loss and tries to play tricks on you. I still have moments where I think, "I haven't spoken to Mum for a while, I must call her". The thing is. people don't disappear all at once. It's not as simple as they are here one day, and the next they are gone.

So after nearly three years, I am back from my place called grief. I don't cry every day anymore. I can hold more than one thought in my head at a time. People can mention their mums without me wanting to stab them, repeatedly, through the heart with a bread knife out of jealousy. I remember, with pleasure, the time I had with my mum, rather than raging about the time we won't.

As this is a food blog, I wanted to share a recipe of my mum's with you. I would go so far as to call it her signature dish. She wasn't a great cook, or even a good cook. Food wasn't hugely important to her. She was a war baby who spent her early years on rations and believed that the best time to put the Christmas sprouts on was sometime in early September.

We did share some food experiences. Grilled sardines and beer in Barcelona. The worst octopus in the world in Mykonos (shortly before she was bitten by a pelican). Years of my teenage vegetarian angst and arguments about whether or not I could eat a Kwik Save economy beefburger. And she baked a mean apple pie.

Anyways, here's how to make corned beef hash, Jo Edwards style. Serves three, with a side of mash potato (which is potatoes boiled and then mashed, no butter or milk to be added).

Take one onion. Chop and microwave on high until soft. Chop a tin of corned beef into small pieces. Open a tin of tomatoes. Mix tomatoes and corned beef with the onion. Cover and microwave on high until molten.

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Blogger mike said...

Has it come to your attention that Thoughtwork's feed might not be a resource for cooking? I have trained myself to skip these posts but why should i?

There's freedom of speech and them there's a target audience for it ...


5:20 PM  
Blogger Suzi Edwards said...

And I have trained myself to take a deep breath before responding to other people's negativity.

One of the things I hate about the internet is the way that people can say things anonymously. However, Mike, I think you had a track record of this type of thing with female ThoughtWorkers.

So, skip the posts if you want to. I get far more positive feedback about my blog being on this aggregator than negative. I am a ThoughtWorker and I do not choose to write a blog about Ruby on Rails. Part of the purpose of this feed is show the diversity of ThoughtWorkers, not just our technical leadership.

But perhaps you might want to think about skipping my posts in future. And perhaps to moderate yourself a little more. You could have posted that at any time, but instead you choose to post in response to a piece about grief.

I think we know all we need to know about you from this.

hugs and smooches


5:45 PM  
Anonymous Megan Folsom said...

I loved this post. The great thing about food is how it connects to the soul and emotions. I'm saddened that there are Thoughtworks people so disconnected from those things they don't see the real treasures that are posts like this. Thank you for writing this and ignore that socially stunted mike guy. I represent Thoughtworks as much as he does and would like to see more posts like this.

6:40 PM  
Anonymous Arti said...


what is wrong with you? you took more time to type out this comment than it would have taken you to skip the post altogether.

if you can't say something nice, then why don't you look up one of the recipes on this blog, cook it and then shove it into your mouth?

That should help keep it shut.


6:41 PM  
Anonymous Moby P. said...

Mike, you're a fucking asshole. Suzi will give you my number if you think I'm wrong.

Suzi, that was beautiful. You've become a really wonderful writer.

11:35 PM  
Blogger Suzi Edwards said...

Aw. Thank you for the nice comments.

Just for the record, Mike doesn't work for ThoughtWorks but he does work in the wonderful world of technology. I am unsure as to why he has appointed himself Guardian of the Purity of ThoughtBlogs, but you'll be pleased to hear we don't pay him to do this.

I know all this because he has recently been trolling the lovely Damana. Her blog post was written in response to his trolls. You'll see he outs himself in the comments, after several episodes of anonymous antagonism.

Sometimes I wonder why I do so much to encourage women to join and stay in the tech world where "men" like Mike exist, seemly to just peddle their bile. But, you know, he's just one little speck of pointlessness.

1:08 AM  
Blogger Mana said...

That is a lovely post. Thanks for sharing that with us.

Don't worry about Mike. He's a moron. If anything, he's complimented me by putting me in the same stalked blogger group as you :)

Keep the brilliant and witty food posts coming.

3:51 AM  
Blogger Jamie said...


interesting! My mother and grandmother also used to cook their corned beef hash in a simular way - same ingredients, but no microwave. I tried to look up the recipe recently on the internet and found something completely different to the recipe I know, leading me to think that my 'Corned Beef Hash' was possibly my grandma's invention. So, now I know! The canned tomato and onion version is also known outside my family :-)

10:44 PM  
Blogger Brian R said...

What a lovely blog. Gave me a lump in my throat if not a hungry belly. As for Mike, I'd have broken every bone in his head, burnt his body and fed his remains to wild boars if it were me in your shoes. Well done for being so composed in your response.

3:52 PM  
Blogger Glyn said...

Call me judgemental, but my gut reaction is that Mike embarrasses plankton, no pun intended ("Gut"?, "Plankton"? Never mind...)

I find bureaucracy as easy to digest as the average shopping cart at the best of times, but to so emphatically pseudo-proclaim, "...she broke the rules" for such a trivial reason and, in addition, after such a touching, personal, and extraordinarily sensitive blog?!

Enlighten us, Mike, what would you be happy to read about? Perhaps "Janet and John do interpersonal communication" would be a good place to start?

Suzi, lovely post. A. A. Gill would be proud. xxx

3:27 PM  

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