Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Best of... the comments

Genuinely the best thing about writing this blog for the last six years has been you. No, really - YOU. All of you. Thank you. But particularly anyone who left a comment. Any comment delighted me, but there have been some stand-out ones that I carry with me, in a small way, at all times. That I will carry with me always. 

I have never excelled at anything. Not as a child, not at school, not really in life at anything do I feel truly brilliant or even really accomplished. It's my own fault - I'm lazy, I give up. I am not determined or thorough. Those are not the qualities you find in stars of track or field. 

I suppose what I'm saying is that I haven't had much opportunity to be a praise junkie because it didn't come around that often. Until this blog. Suddenly, there was praise. I wrote it down and you fucking loved it. Just loved all the angry crazy boiling PISS going around my head - you LOVED it. 

I certainly didn't do all that fucking cooking because I like cooking, I did all that cooking and writing because the hit after hit of good comments was like crack, I couldn't get enough. 

As we crawl slowly towards The End, I wanted to share with you a few of my favourite comments. There are more, there are so many brilliant ones, but this is just a few. 

My best all-time no 1 comment is at the top, that still makes me laugh, but I love them all, they are all insightful and funny and I treasure them. 

serves 1
as a side to Recipe Rifle or some other blog or something

I have two year old twins and everything you've said mirrors my own life down to the ocado shopping and the berserk, trembling with rage stalker sending furious text messages at 2 am. Highs and lows and all that. It will get better though. I was looking at our texts from the first year of our relationship which were all along the lines of 'why bang the door at 6.30 am when I've just put them down you CUNT. Get formula.' As we approach the third year they've got a lot less sweary so things must be improving and will continue to do so I'm sure. - Anonymous

The secret for skinning the salmon is to buy it frozen (or freeze it), then run the hot tap quickly over the skin side. Grab the corner and tear - it will rip off as easily as opening a zip - Barbara

For anyone really put off the white sauce element, there's a really easy all in one way. My dad taught me this when I was about 10, but I think it might originally have been Delia...but anyway: - 1 pint milk, 40g butter, 40g flour, 75g cheese (cheddar and parmesan for preference but anything really). Stick everything but the cheese in a pan. Over a low to medium heat, whisk continuously until it's thickened (if you do get lumps, although I've NEVER had a problem and I make this loads) take it off the heat and whisk until your arms hurt. Simmer gently for 5 mins until it doesn't taste all floury. Then add the cheese and whisk again until it's all melted. Taste and season as you like - Lisa

Sounds great and I have some salmon. But with skin on. Can't win them all. Is it worth sharing Mary Berry's genius method for getting fridge butter to room temperature in about two minutes? I think it is. Fill a bowl or something big enough to contain the butter you need with luke warm water (not hot, you'll just get melted watery butter), chop butter into lumps. big ones, put in water and leave for about 2 mins (I've left it less than that) and hey presto! Soft butter. Obviously drain the water away - annared

Drawing on the walls only starts to be a problem once they learn to spell. 'It wasn't me,'says Sophie, as i look at a row of Sophies all over the back kitchen wall. Hmmmm... - Hilary

when my girls were weeny (they're only 9 and 6 now so not massively grown up, though on their way, scarily), I told them that there were only two rules in life: never throw sand and always put the lids back on felt pens. Have spent their entire childhoods, thus far, chucking out dried out felt pens, so have no parenting tips whatsoever. Although haven't had too many beach incidents. - Clare Nash 

I just read this and even I'm excited. This is quite a triumph seeing as I just split up from my boyfriend last week and am now having one of those 'where the fuck is my life going' type of times, when I think about how I'm going to end up old and with cats, and then I cry about how even if I wanted cats I couldn't have them because my flat is leasehold and I'm not allowed pets. It's been somewhat trying. Anyway, cats aside, these clothes are lovely, and I'm sure you will look and feel fab. And thank you for making me smile on what has been a particularly hideous day. - Anonymous

I'm sorry for laughing but everything you say is true! I do 'anger ironing' because it makes me feel so superior and screams out LOOK AT ME, the one who does EVERYTHING, doing SOME MORE HOUSEWORK while you ( who works 12 hour days outside in all weathers fitting shitty people's new windows for a pittance ) sleeps on the sofa instead of finishing the shed roof in the rain. That tarty quiche looks divine! - Rachelradiostar

I have two children roughly the same age as yours are and if you throw in a couple of 'No stir the flour in the bowl. That's right in the bowl. No you need to keep the flour in the bowl. In the bowl. If you tip anymore flour out of the bowl you will not be helping mummy ever again' Then this perfectly describes my cooking experiences with my children. I am even reading it in a forced cheery tone. My intentions are always so good, the reality so humbling - Emily

She's so right, potty training in 3 days is an underground myth perpetuated by those people that say they only craved watermelon when pregnant hence why they're a size 6 again 3 wks after the birth!! Let them be naked from the waist down at home for as long as it takes, take the potty EVERYWHERE and I mean everywhere, don't be fooled into thinking a wee buys you even 15mins of dry-time coz that's when another one comes!!, buy a bucket load of jelly tots for rewards and stay calm. It's only wee and you needed a new carpet anyway!! Oh, also forcing Daddy to do a ridiculous potty dance for every success helps, if for no other reason than it makes you smile ;-) God speed xx - Linda

What did you buy Giles for Christmas?? I'm at the panicked stage where I will buy my husband anything someone else has bought for their husband... no time to shop with 2 toddlers. Help! - Anonymous

Disgusted at finding a jar of pesto a year out of date, my bf ransacked my cupboards binning almost half of it... 3 yr old Worcester sauce (solidified) 5 yr old rice wine, weevily flour, tins of value fruit cocktail (3) best before Jul 2001. All of these things I would have given a go at some point, but even I didn't think you could eat whiffy chicken. How late can you leave it? Just to the faint fishy smell or the overpowering - something has died stage? - Anonymous

Packing. Tell me about it. The bane of my life. No one else can do it for you. My husband doesn't understand the mental effort it takes. His favourite line is "Just tell me what to pack and I'll pack it." Not realising that that's the hardest part - the planning, the list-making, the thinking through of every possible activity. Simply hefting stuff I've assembled in the hall into the car is the easy part! - LucyTallon

This post is a couple of years old so I doubt anyone will read it, but I have pregnancy insomnia and am working my way backwards through this whole blog, in lieu of staring at the bedroom ceiling, listening to my husband snore. ANYWAY, my theory on the tiger who came to tea is that mummy is actually a complete alcoholic, has invented/hallucinated the whole tiger episode and made her child believe it as a cover up for why there's no food in, all "daddy's" beer is gone and the fact that she can't even get it together enough to give her daughter a bath. For further evidence of this, please look carefully at the illustrations of mummy's flushed cheeks and wild-eyed demeanor and daddy's look of weary acceptance that they have to go out for tea. Again. What do you mean, read it too many times and probably should just go back to bed now and shush…? - Helen Quin

My mother loves to tell the stories about how I was such a fussy eater as a child, whereas my brother will eat anything. He is now 17, skinny as a rake and regularly comes home from school and eats 6 scrambled eggs on toast before tea. The upside to this insatiable appetite is that he makes awesome scrambled eggs, and has volunteered to cook them for us all on Christmas morning, avec bagels & smoked salmon. Anyway - I made ganache with after eights this week. Same principle, just melt them with some double cream. It was AWESOME - Rosy

This is so true, I have a terrible reputation as a child hater. I adore them, except the little shit that comes into my shop and squeezes the living daylights out of all of my roses. - Miss Pickering

this post made me want to cry; finally feeling understood sometimes it's so FRUSTRATING feeling like you're the one always stuck at home even if it's a job you happily chose to do. a while ago my husband went to see a moving during the work day when he suddenly had several hours free and when he told me after the fact i just blew up. It wasn't so much that i feel like he should ever ever be able to watch a movie but the feelings of "do you have ANY idea what i was doing while you were watching a MOVIE???" are overwhelming. Doesn't help that i had my toddler for the whole day and he decided to be difficult that day. Maddening!!!!! You must be so popular at kitty's nursery what with the constant baked goods. must steal this idea from you - Veronica

My husband hardly every goes out due to his shift pattern but he has occasionally had a lads night and stayed out faaaar too late and I've fucking lost it. Once was when I was pregnant with baby two, his friends wanted him to have one last night of fun before the baby came. I was pissed off before he even went out. I was the one who was about to give birth and have a baby attached to me 24/7 for the foreseeable future. Why did he get a fucking night out and not me?!? He, of course, said I should go out for a girls night. Sure. That would be fun...girls night while a million months pregnant. Let me get right on that. Anyway, baby two will be 6 months old next week and I will start weaning her and maybe, just maybe, I will get to be completely child free for more than 30 minutes soon. -- Thank you for being so funny and so real, Esther. - Bria

Oh, all of this rings true, even though my kids are slightly older (2 and 4) and supposed to be less of an ALL ENCOMPASSING BALLACHE ALL THE TIME. Ahem. I love your searing honesty. Don't ever become one of those LYING female bloggers who act like having children is sunshine, rainbows and glittery shits 24/7 - Soph

I lived in West London once and it was exactly as your prejudices imagined. Kids called Wolf Filofax and Melba Toast wearing clothes with holes in despite being wealthier than Onasis. The lady that owned the house where I rented a room had a weekend place in the country. She was in to yoga and meditation, you couldn’t get a decent cup of tea in the house just all Rooibos and shit. We went to her place in the country once and she forgot her shoes, cash/bank card and toothbrush but she did pack her meditation mat, two fairy costumes and a huge pair of antlers. Too rich to think about packing. Maybe if she had taken her time over Dundee Cake she might have remembered some shoes - Oraleek


  1. Sorry but that comment about the tiger who came to tea had me crying with laughter!! Whoever this was can THEY start a blog now (now that you're leaving us Esther - sob!) deconstructing well known kids books (my husband and I do this al the time!) - anyway have been crying this evening anyway having just stopped breast feeding second baby so crying with laughter is just what I needed! Thanks :)

  2. Ps and YOU Esther, have had me in stitches on a very regular basis so high fives to you. Because... Not a lot makes me REALLY laugh... Out loud that is.... Husband is a TV comedy editors and dispairs at me being "a tough crowd" oh anyway god sorry bla bla .... I've got bloody verbal diarrhoea now. Enough.

  3. Oh bless you!! I'm the one with the two year old twins and I am so proud I'm your top commentator! You might just have made my day. It's funny as I think they are exactly the same age as your Kitty give or take a week or two, and without sounding like a stalker, I live very close by. So you are basically like my twin. It gave me great comfort to think I wasn't alone in those days of drudgery, waiting for the one o'clock club to open and punching my own head in despair in pret a manger. (OM fucking G how exciting was it when that opened??) Your blog really was special: very funny and very insightful and didn't make me vomit on twee mummy martyrdom, so thank you. xxx

    1. I did a victory dance when Pret opened. CIVILISATION! BIRCHER MUSELI! Come and say hello if you see me in there. I've dyed the ends of my hair blonde but basically similar to picture above. Ginger, grumpy. Probably in a pair of shitty Aasics trainers

  4. Fantastic :)

    I think the alcoholic mum in 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea' is my favourite, although "Wolf Filofax and Melba Toast" comes a close second. And Delia's white sauce recipe is one of my staples.

    You've worried me by saying "As we crawl slowly towards The End" though - you're not stopping the blog, are you? :(

    1. Jen I AM stopping the blog. It's time to draw it to a close - but I will do something else, I'm sure. xx

    2. Esther please do something else, I only just had a baby and the glittery shit mummy blog mafia are getting me down as I send furious swear filled messages and links to stop snoring sites to my husband at 2am in lieu of smothering him after night feeds. Plus you stopped me having soggy crackling.

    3. Boo! Well, thank you for all the laughs (and pretty tasty food too). Keep us posted with your future exploits!

  5. Love all these but most of all love your writing. I don't even having children but these have amused me for years now. Not much makes me laugh out loud in life so thank you for that. Think my ultimate favourite was when you were talking about kitty starting to walk and for a moment you thought it was a crazed chimp coming towards you?! Can't find the post but hilarious stuff. Thanks Esther, lifelong fan xxxx ps please now get a dog and start the puppy diaries.

  6. Also why don't emojis work in here? I live my life talking in emojis 😂

  7. I wish you knew how much you have made us laugh out loud, and smile with compassion and amusement (if that makes sense) - whenever my daughter tosses all toys out I send her a link from your blog with the same message 'you are not alone, across the world there is someone else ...'

  8. The first time I ever plucked up the courage to comment on this blog you responded back very quickly, with a funny, nice comment. I was so excited I rang my dad to tell him and didn't sleep that night.
    I make your banana bread for Dory often.
    Will be sad to see Recipe Rifle go. Sophie x

    1. Sophie I'm horrified to have contributed to a sleepless night! Say hi to your dad for me xx

  9. I feel bad that none of my comments were particularly memorable, as if I've somehow let you down. I've loved your blog, and will miss it tremendously. Thank god for Twitter!

    1. no don't be silly! this was literally just a selection, I clearly didn't come across any of yours while I was trawling! xxx

  10. Oooooo me n my anger ironing made it! This made my day!! Currently building a pile of Anger Ironing as I type!
    NB: you must slam the iron down and over dramatically fold and flap towels for maximum effect! Xx

  11. Elizabeth Medovnik3 June 2015 at 22:59

    Is this your last post? I wish I'd found your blog sooner (I only found out about it when I saw Giles mention it in a column) as Mimi is only about a week younger than Kitty and it was so fantastic to read about someone else going through the exact same thing at the same time! So, thank you for that x

  12. Please keep an open mind about signing back in in a few years. Here we have twins aged eight- just been at a business soirée-runny nose, need to stop sniffing- oh yea that's right it's obviously ok to blow your nose on those rugby socks you randomly found in your bag. Amazon Prime - a luxury? a fucking necessity more like for 'interesting' gifts for other people's kids that your would find unbelievably tedious. Oh your child doesn't have/use a tablet or play Minecraft or eat McDonalds...you are lying.
    The school gates sorority needs you. When you get there you will know what we mean - the urge to punch other mothers in the face really hard is fucking unbelievable - we need you. Until then, take care x

  13. Oh I feel so chuffed. I don't live anywhere near close by but often wish I did.

    Sammi number one is absolutely my favourite ever comment on this blog. I have those same furious texts on my phone.

    My second favourite one is the one below. It was so good I think on occasion I have stolen it and pretended it is my own.

    'I once read that the greatest talent a parent can have is the ability to eat a whole packet of crisps in complete silence with one's head inside a cupboard.' Laura

  14. These are all brilliant. I don't have children or a husband and I don't cook much, but I'm a fan of the Coren/Walker clan and I've enjoyed this blog over the years. No doubt I shall reread it all if children etc. come along and finally understand. Thank you!

  15. I love your blog. Don't go!

    You made me feel normal when I thought I was alone in feeling completely anti-social. You wrote something about not wanting to go out but wanting to want to go out... You hit the nail on the head. I wish I enjoyed socialising but I just don't!

    Despite that I've managed to find someone who wants to marry me so now I've got to somehow get through a whole day of socialising at my wedding. Saying I'm feeling anxious doesn't come close! I'm hoping I'll find some sage advice in some if your previous posts from around the time you got wed... But in case I don't get around to it. Have you got any tips on how I can survive the day?!?

  16. I work at a children's bookstore and have always seen, but never actually read, The Tiger Who Came For Tea. You can bet your bottom I am now!

  17. Always enjoy reading your blog. So before you leave us I have a request. I've tried making the recipe for the Overnight Rye Buns and they've flopped miserably. I live in Toronto so have tried different conversions/ substitutions etc. I was wondering if perhaps you make any recommendations. The recipe really is my kind of morning food. Thank you!

    1. when you say "flopped" what do you mean? they burn, they deflate, they're too hard, what?