There is a wonderful new online and occassional print magazine called Kinfolk recommended to me by lovely Charlotte of florist Lotte and Bloom. It refers to itself as a 'community of artists with a shared interest in small gatherings.' Its ethos is that entertaining 'should be: simple, uncomplicated and less contrived,' and the magazine reflects this in its photography and writing.
There is something incredibly relevant about this publication. Despite Kinfolk's primarily online home, its obvious compatibility with the ipad and its strategy of promotion to the masses via the social media network, the message is that living simply offline, bringing friends and family together in the real world by sharing food around the table is really the new way. The artists way.
I love this and realised as I devoured every single image and every single word of the first edition that the elevation of simple food for social gatherings is how I think. And how I cook. And how I crave all gatherings to be - stripped bare of pomp and ceremony, good food centric, littered with laughter and fun and chat and friends and family. That's where I see loveliness and artistry. And it applies to the work I do too. Mainly in the world of weddings.
This week I cooked for a lovely little Lunga wedding. A small gathering of 11 people. A bride and groom determined to do things in a very simple and uncontrived way. A father who admitted that in the three days he stayed with us at Lunga he didn't once look at his watch. Sharing simple food around a table enabled conversation between people who hadn't all met before to flow. Pints of guinness and bottles of wine. Relaxed eating. Relaxed guests.
I'm the photographer of my own food and when small gatherings become bigger gatherings I realise that my focus is always the same - sharing the visual loveliness of food coming together. This is sometimes (often!) chaotic - langoustines for one hundred takes up a lot of kitchen space. Bringing them to the boil steams up the kitchen and my lenses and makes my hair go curly. But the point is always to create an atmosphere that eschews pomp; eschews ceremony. And makes even the biggest of gatherings feel intimate and informal. And fun to be a part of. From both sides of the kitchen sink.
So thankyou Ruth and Malcolm for letting me share with you the kind of food that makes me happy. And for reflecting, so perfectly, Kinfolk magazine's approach to entertaining: 'the marriage of our appreciation for art and our love for spending time with friends and family.'