Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Goodbye, the end




Now it's here, the end, I find myself uncharacteristically unable to think of anything profound to say.

I'm sure there's so much I've forgotten to tell you. The "drafts" folder of this blog is full of half-written posts, that stop in mid-air, trying to say something. But the thought was too vague, or I was too tired, demented, angry, self-pitying, or just busy, to finish it.

Some of you understand why this blog has to stop and others don't. The best way I can put it is that if I carry on, I will feel like I am betraying something.

Let me explain. Life with a two year old and a four year old is still demanding, but I can't deny that it's easier. At times it's even nice in the way that life with two under-threes, or a new baby, or being pregnant or whatever just isn't ever. Well not for me anyway. I was always having a good time despite something and I would briefly think "Look! Look it's not relentlessly crap!". Whereas now I find that, as a family, we all bring something. We all, also, take turns to ruin everything, don't get me wrong, but it's never one person consistently making it all bad.

And I really don't want to start writing posts that coyly go "And you know what, we actually had a pretty good time..." because that's just fucking annoying.

I've changed, too. When I was in the eye of the storm I was a better person, I thought more deeply, I was more sensitive, attuned and intellectually alive. Now all I think about is my career and clothes. That's it. I chase the high of a new commission and the high of total, sheer, vanity. It's abominable really and has no place in a blog that started out charting self-taught cookery, but has become a safe place for mothers demented and deranged by small children but unable to express how they are feeling, unable to find anyone else who can express what they're feeling either.

There's no shame in it - not everyone is good at expressing themselves. I'm not good at maths - in that I can barely even add 7 + 4. And I also can't really express myself in person, watching me trying to finish a sentence in real life is gruelling. But I can do it in writing.

So that's what I did and this is what this blog became. But I can't do it any more. I'm too distracted and shallow, and I don't want to let you all down.

I don't like goodbyes. Who does? Maybe there are some over-emotional people who relish leave-taking, the hugs, the vestibuling, the promises they don't intend to keep. Not me. I don't like it. I am an expert at what is known as the "French exit", which is when you go "I've just got to make a quick phone call" and then disappear in a swirl of cigarette smoke and Coco Chanel, not to be seen for the rest of the night.

There will be another blog. I'm working on it! I'm sure many of you won't like it and I'm sorry about that, but, you know, things have to change. Modernise or die! Anyway I will post a link here to the new blog when it's ready for those of you who aren't on Twitter - and everyone else will be able to find it on Twitter.

There has to be a farewell recipe,  of course, and here it is. This is a very old-fashioned thing I made recently from a recipe written by the Irish cookery writer Theodora FitzGibbon (no, me neither), which my husband absolutely and totally loved in a way that is actually quite unusual and noteworthy. (Though he may have just been hungry.)



It's a bizarre recipe - I've never seen call for boiled onions before - that speaks of a time and a location where there wasn't terribly much available and you had to use your imagination with what you have. I didn't hold out much hope for it, pork chops aren't that easy to render edible, but in fact this works very well.

So, for the very last time, here we go:

Theodora FitzGibbon's Stuffed Pork Chops
Serves 4

4 best pork chops
black pepper
4 medium onions, peeled and sliced
50g butter
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
150ml warm milk
2 tbsp cream
4 tbsp breadcrumbs
1 extra large blob of butter
about 10 sage leaves, chopped.

Preheat your oven to 220C

1 FitzGibbon says "trim the chops" and, like, fuck knows what this means, but I just cut the skin off and tidied them up a bit. No idea if that's what I was supposed to do, but that's what I did. Put the chops onto a grill pan and scrunch over some turns of black pepper

2 Put the sliced onions into a saucepan, just cover with water, bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain, reserving the liquid.

3 Heat the butter in another pan, then add the onions and sugar, and cook until they are soft - probably about 15 mins. Then mash with a fork or masher (I told you this was a mad recipe).

4 Add the flour to the onion mash and let it cook for a minute then add the warm milk and some of the onion liquor to make a thick sauce. Add a good quantity of salt and pepper and then stir through the cream and the chopped sage.

5 Grill the chops well on one side only and then transfer cooked side down into a roasting pan and cover the tops with the onion sauce. Sprinkle breadcrumbs on top, then a dot of butter and pepper.

6 Cook at 220C for 20 mins


Anyway so while you're thinking about all that, if you'll excuse me, I've just got to go and make a quick phone call. 

54 comments:

  1. Big fan of the French exit too. Good luck with what's next. Have so enjoyed reading your blog and know that the next one will be equally brilliant. So thank you for saying it like it is for so many of us with children.

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  2. Sorry to see you go, as i do enjoy your writing style and was always happy to see new posts crop up in my feed. I'm confident whatever type of blog you'll transition to will be equally fun reading material. Good luck, and hope we'll hear from you soon!

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  3. Have loved reading your blogs whilst nodding away and thinking "finally, someone is saying it's not all flower picking and everyone smiling sweetly at each other".
    Look forward to reading the new blog when you're ready, adieu!

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  4. Thank you for Recipe Rifle. I don't have kids but have really enjoyed (? sounds a bit harsh) reading.
    We always call it in Irish exit (similar I suppose but usually due to drunkenness). Yours is much classier!
    Looking forward to the new blog.

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  5. Thanks for Recipe Rifle. You've made me feel normal (to an extent) through the first year with my first baby, and through making a scotch egg and pork pie from scratch. I look forward to the new blog. Bon chance. x

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  6. I have strains of ' I did it my way' echoing round in my head now. I found your blog way too late for my very darkest days and now I'm pretty gutted that it's all over. You did make me laugh through my tears though - many times - and that's a rare gift so don't underestimate it! Personally I think you should have more children or do something equally torturing because we will all miss your searing honesty about something we are all experiencing. I am truly bored of hearing other mums compete with what their kids are doing etc so most of the time I just want to stick my fingers in my ears and read things like your blog which make me feel normal again. Good luck, thank you and I too am just popping out to check my washing...

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  7. Thank you so much for sharing the whole damn thing with us. The swearing, the vomit, the tear-making frustration. I thought it was just me who found it a nightmare being at home with two children. Why does no one say it? You give me hope that it gets better. Only 18 months to go....
    Totally understand the need to move on.... enjoy.

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  8. I don't have children, but have still loved every single entry you've posted. It's weird, but I feel like you're my actual friend (don't worry, I know you're not really) - I'm really going to miss you!! Good luck with everything, Clare xx

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  9. It's been terrific. Thank you so much for what you've given us all and good luck with the next thing. With love and gratitude from one firmly still in the trenches!

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  10. You are wonderful. A great last post. Thanks for describing the insanity of parenthood in such an accurate and hilarious way. Xx

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  11. I've loved your blog (it's the only one I actually subscribe to) and I'll look forward to seeing your new one. Thank you for sharing your life - your writing style is hilarious and has been very much enjoyed. My two sons were born only 19 months apart and are now almost out of their teenage years but I remember with graphic horror the trials and tribulations of having small children - your honest posts brought back many memories! Well done and thanks again.

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  12. Looking forward to the new blog and excited that all you think about is now your career and clothes - it'd be amazing if you did more fashion, those were my favourite posts...

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  13. Well done on the sharp French exit. It's the only way to leave a party, particularly one you're hosting.
    I've enjoyed your blog. I have twins and, having staggered around for four years feeling sorry for myself, had another baby so I know all there is to know about tears in the fishfingers and fucking rage at one's lot.
    I look forward to your new blog.

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  14. All the best! Thanks for a good read.

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  15. Thanks for the funnies Esther. Good luck with commissions and fashion. Xxx

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  16. I have loved your blog , and have recommended it my friends who like me have children under 5. Thanks for making me laugh and look forward to seeing your new blog. Please remember to post the link!

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  17. OK, so this is my last chance to ask. For 3 years I have been trying to work out what the hell that picture to the left of your head is in the photo - looks like black dials??? Before recipe rifle is gone for good, please explain the mystery. And - thanks for every single post.

    Rosemary

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    1. Ha ha! At last someone has asked! I was a crack shot at school - I shot, wait for it, rifles... hence the name of the blog. That picture is in fact a "10-spot", which is a card with ten black spots on it, you try and hit a bullseye in the middle of each spot from 25 yards. That particular card was my best, I got 10 bullseyes, so I had it framed. xx

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  18. Thanks Esther! And echoing previous commenters, if you just chose to do the odd fashion and miscellaneous post, that would be just dandy!

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  19. Rubbing my hands in anticipation for the next blog/thingy! Will it take RR's spot or will it have it's own space? I loved this blog so much and it was so refreshing to have someone finally say out loud what I had always felt. Small children are a trial! Sort of like being in charge of a tiny drunk mental patient. Good luck always & I'll be ever watchful for the new thingy!

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  20. Already looking forward to your new blog and other writing. Thank you for RR and this last, er, unusual sounding recipe. x

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  21. Thank you Esther for every post in this brilliantly honest, sometimes moving and always hilarious blog. I didn't have children when I started following but, having recently had my second child, find myself turning to this blog for guidance and moral fibre in lieu of mainstream parenting manuals. It speaks a truth which, as you say, many cannot express. I have been and will continue to read some of your old posts to bolster me during this long and never ending day that is looking after a newborn (and toddler). Can't wait for the new blog. x

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  22. What they said! I'll really miss your wise words. For those of you who want some sanity, the Unmumsy Mum is also awesome, but I for one can't wait for what comes next. Good luck!

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  23. Bye Esther. Your blog has been marvellous and helped keep me sane along the rocky road of motherhood. Your post about toddler lunch is the one that sticks in my mind the most and that you 'can't turn a chihuahua into an Alsatian by making it eat a lot'. I will miss your little nuggets of wisdom and hope you will return for the teenage years x

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  24. Sorry to see the end of this blog but looking forward to the next one.

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  25. Please call your new blog "Skinny White Bitch" which was the rumoured name for Goop. Thanks for Banana Bread I

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  26. Thanks for the blog. And for Mamgu's cabbagey sausagey thing. Who knew?

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  27. Elizabeth Medovnik15 July 2015 at 23:11

    Well, I'm really glad that things are going so well for you now, and I'm looking forward to the next blog xx

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  28. Bye bye RR. Thanks for being funny, inspiring and insightful Esther and thanks for being kind to me a couple of years ago when I was down. I look forward to the next blog and am trying to guess what it might be about ... x

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  29. A few years ago, I was in Nicole Fahri in Bicester Village and saw your husband with a very pretty girl; they looked very happy together and I remember thinking that this is what famous people did, they dated actresses / models / television presenters, how great for them.

    The girl (of course) was you, and you turned out to be hilariously funny and all the rest of it. How annoying.

    Thanks for your blog though Esther, I don't have kids either but have enjoyed reading every word (I even bought the book! And am planning on writing a novel on the very premise of a character who asks herself what Judge Judy would do.)

    Best of luck!

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  30. I've been a devoted fan of Recipe Rifle since 2010 and am waving it farewell with a sentimental tear in my eye. I had no babies when yours came but your writing made the blog consistently hilarious and compulsive. I have never made a single recipe apart from the courgette thing - I came for the writing, not the food. Now I do have a baby I have re-read the archives, reassured by the many WTF moments. Can't wait for the next blog. Or book! Whatever you do I'll read it. Thank you!

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  31. Thank you, thank you Esther. You've been brilliant. x

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  32. I don't have kids, I hate cooking, and I'm not married to anyone like Giles Coren, but I still loved your blog. It inspired me to start mine, which is about scones - it's better than it sounds. Anyway, good luck with the new blog and thanks for being so entertaining.

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  33. Please, please ask your sister-in-law to start a replacement blog dealing with similar matters, or better still, take on this one as part of a new Coren tradition. That would be a first in Internet history!

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  34. I, too, am sad to see you go. I don't have children but still and all I found your blog strangely relatable. I am glad you finished with a Theodora Fitzgibbon recipe, partly because I am Irish, but mostly because, I think, she is great cookery writer. I look forward to your next online incarnation. Many good wishes to you.

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  35. I vividly remember reading RR for the first time on my phone while walking round TopShop pushing my 6 month old in a buggy and feeling like finally the sun was coming out! My son is only a week or so younger than Kitty and RR was an absolute lifesaver! And hilarious and the best cheese scone recipe ever! We lived in Kentish Town for a year or so and would sometimes see you at Talacre but always too shy to say hello. We did have a chat with Giles and Kitty once in the little playground on Hampstead Heath which was lovely! Thank you for being an incredible lifeline and good luck with all your next moves xx

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  36. You have edified, educated and entertained, who could ask for more. Thanks for this and your friendship.

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  37. Agh have to admit feeling a little bereft that you are abandoning me just a couple of months before the arrival of number 2. Will miss the little surge of excitement when I see your latest RR entry pop into my inbox. Thanks for sharing the chaos and making me feel normal. Looking forward to whatever comes next.

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  38. Thanks for all your writing...you've made me wish I'd started sooner, not when my youngest offspring was 18....
    looking forward to your return-enjoy your break !

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  39. I discovered RR in 2013 when living in London and pregnant with my first baby. Since then I have had the baby, moved back to Australia, moved interstate and embarked on numerous failed attempt of ivf for a second baby. All along the way I have often turned for you for a dose of common sense and a giggle when the challenges of motherhood all seemed a little too much. THe first receipe I tried was the pork Thai patties which are now in high rotation. As luck would have it, I bought some pork chops- which I never do- on special the other day. I was just staring into the freezer wondering what the hell to make with them when you came to my rescue one final time. Do our relationship starts and ends with pork it would seem! Thanks for the laughs and being a link to a very special time in my life in London.

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  40. Beautiful exit, Esther. I loved your blog and was always so happy to see a new post. I hardly ever commented because I never had anything witty enough to say, but I read your posts and I loved them. My favourite all time, was the one when you kept thinking a chimpanzee had stumbled into the room only to realise it was a newly toddling kitty. Thank you for making me feel better about the bad days and hopeful for life after small children x

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  41. Ahh crap, I've just discovered this blog and it's only went and bloody ended! Looking forward to trawling through the archives and hopefully getting amongst your new stuff. Good luck!

    Katie xoxo

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  42. Love your writing. Tried a few of your recipes which were REALLY good ( best curry ever) although I tried the 'overnight rye buns which I couldn't seem to translate into Canadian measurements. Thanks for the laughs & happy summertime.

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  43. As a career expat, always moving on from one place to another, I completely suck at goodbye. I prefer to say, "See you soon!" even when I know that isn't true. In this case, since you hold out the carrot of a new blog, perhaps it is.
    It's been lovely knowing you, Esther. You reminded me of the long gone years when my babies were little and my mind was lost to too little sleep. Which helped me to appreciate this time of empty nesting. I am much obliged.

    See you soon!
    Stacy

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  44. Sophie Beveridge20 July 2015 at 11:46

    I'm with Katie Deacon - a few weeks of binge-reading and then you're gone, dammit. Your writing is fabulous (better than Giles's, I think) so I shall subscribe just so that one day a link to a new blog pops up in my inbox.
    All I ask is that you go at the new one ...
    FULL BONGOS!! xx

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  45. Thank you. I have loved reading your blog and will miss it (although I do blame you for introducing me to Cupcakes and Cashmere, which I read with baffled fascination). Good luck with your new blog.

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  46. SUCH a good exit. Thank you for your brilliant blog x

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  47. Thank you a million times! I've enjoyed Recipe Rifle for your writing and the recipes

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  48. Hi Esther! I've been reading you since I was in uni and god that honestly seems AGES ago. I've enjoyed your blog so so much even though I have no children (husband & I are still on the fence haha...I like other people's children more than the idea of my own) and am really sad to see it go! Excited for your new endeavors as I will miss the side splitting laughs I get here. Thank you for being so very relatable and honest.

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  49. Great exit :-) Looking forward to what's next...

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  50. Really loved this blog and I'm not exaggerating when I say it helped me through some dark (small-child related) times. My kids are the same ages and the same gap between and it was so reassuring it wasn't just me freaking out, or not 'enjoying it'. I wish all mothers were this honest with each other, it's good for the sisterhood, innit. Good luck with the next one x

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  51. I'm so gutted you've stopped this blog now that I have a toddler and can FINALLY understand and relate to you!

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  52. Just found you and lost you all in the space of 5mins, classy exit. Stay cool, it's been emotional....

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