Chick lunches – memories not ‘stuff’

For those of you that haven’t been following this blog (grrr) you may be unaware of my chick lunch system. This is a way of ensuring that at least once a month we all get together, usually for a roast or three but in summer this morphs into a barbecue (thus my constant pleas for someone to build me a pizza oven, a tandoor oven AND a spit roast). Chicks are a wild and varied lot including children, their partners, friends old and new etc. I will post a message and see who is going to turn up.

I normally do three roasts, always pork from Two Cocks Farm because the meat is lush and filled with happiness and hops and if I didn’t do pork WITH crackling my husband would be DISAPPOINTED (such a powerful word). I will always do a free range chicken because that makes the stock for the best gravy in Christendom. Even my veggie friend loves my gravy.  The only person who is slightly disconcerted by the idea that the stock can be from many years ago and gets a bit squicky. He doesn’t fully agree with the boiling and freezing that means each stock may have ancient stock in it. He does eat it however.

Finally my favourite is fore-rib of beef but sometimes it is lamb (also from Two Cocks). The beef comes from Greenham Common which I drive past every day, it is great to see lunch grazing happily knowing that it will be on my plate at some point. Just to say I don’t just do the roasts, we have ALL the trimmings, home made sausage meat stuffing, pigs in blankets, cabbage with bacon, roasted veg etc.

As I am sure you all know, making a roast for 20 people isn’t very different to making it for 4, just more, in fact I nearly always Vat cook and then use my clever Lakeland bag sealer to put soup, stews or bolognese into family sized portions. It is amazing how many of my uni student children pop in on a Sunday, chick roast or not, just to say how much they love us and then they always leave with a straining carrier bag of food. I am sure this is not cupboard (freezer) love. Also all of the leftovers get used, the meat goes into Tony’s sandwiches which again I batch make and the veg are eaten the next day or put into the stock. The stock is on about an hour after lunch has finished and I add any other bones I have been saving in the freezer.

As I mentioned t least one of my step sons if not two are horrified by my everlasting stock. It goes on for ever (or they think it does). When I was brought up in Yemen and also in the old English tradition people had what were known as 100 year old stocks on the go; as long as you keep boiling it then it is fine. At least we haven’t had any disasters so far. Always the old stock goes into the new stock like it is a little mother. The stock is a huge thing in my life, maybe disproportionately when compared to those who have a life but it matters a lot to me.

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 Some badly taken photos of some of the chick lunch. We are    currently rearranging the house so that our dining area is much larger as we have fold up tables and chairs being used as well. This is seriously chaotic.


I think it was the lunch before this when my grandson Danny looked woefully at me as he asked “Are there only two roasts granny?”. And there was the one time I only had enough roast potatoes, hells bells I wake up from nightmares of that one!

Summer Chick Lunch

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lamb, perfectly marinated in yoghourt, mint, garlic and ginger then chargrilled

Rib of beef rare on a hand made wooden bowl.

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   Lamb, not rare enough, in a hewn dish made in Aden

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            Family and friends


A summer chick lunch attended by children, friends, current husband, ex husband and his wife and their daughter, Hope, who is little and gorgeous and half sister to all of my children. I have three whole and three step, 2 grandchildren and I am not quite sure what official relationship we all are to Hope but we all get along. I have to say my husband is a star, an only child who was more than a bit dumbstruck when faced with my family all at once.

The beauty of these occasions is the introduction of dilution. Three people can be a strain, twenty three people is a doddle as everyone will get along with someone. You know that mad aunt that can only start sentences with words beginning with W (what do you mean you don’t have one of those), well she can move around loads of people and not spend 4 hours just with you. The baby that is teething and a bit grizzly, they get passed along arm to arm to give parents some peace. Seriously I have had parents arrive and just go straight up to bed (to sleep, stop that you naughty readers). This is what family is about and in family I include extended family, friends and the whole kaboodle.

I am going on about STUFF at the moment. I would give anything to be decluttered professionally but without me paying. The reason I mention this is that actually at the end of the day/life what is important surely is our memories not our stuff. Yes I may have some great brands of stuff but that means nothing at the point of death. What matters is our memories, our love, our family and friends and the experiences we have enjoyed together. For us, and probably a lot of other people, food is at the heart of our times together We have a family party in August and already I am seeing the emails, “yes we can attend, what can I bring”, from my sisters.

Every big family occasion I can remember has had food as part of it, a major part (well we are talking about MY family, this may not be the same with other people) and these are the memories I will take away with me when I am an ancient old biddy with my purple hat and my stick to poke people with if they get in my way. My children will be mortified but will deal with it. I will spoil my grandchildren and my great grandchildren (please may I live that long) and hopefully my love of good food will be the last sense to go.


Green Man rabbit and kanga Kigu

Finally, to show we are a run of the mill family, this picture is of me on the left and one of my four sisters on the right (Beth) to show how average we are, we just like food.

2 comments on “Chick lunches – memories not ‘stuff’

  1. I have been , and tasted one of the summer ones mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm yum yum, the most amount of mouthwatering food I have ever seeen

  2. I have been , and tasted one of the summer ones mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm yum yum, the most amount of mouthwatering food I have ever seeen

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