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Tuesday, 23 January 2018

You get to decide what to worship

So: this is what I'm reading.

David Foster Wallace, April; 2009: “Because here's something else that's weird but true: in the day-to day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship.”

The only choice we get is what to worship.

I didn't, as I was first tempted to, read this as some kind of casual or flippant remark, hinting at the ease of picking from an abundance of choices that we have at our disposal in the world we live in today - a world of relativism, essentially. It wasn't for me an 'oh, it doesn't matter, you can worship anything you want, you can choose what suits you, you can do whatever is convenient.'


I took this, in the larger context of David's work, as a pretty serious sentiment.

A far harder proposition than simply claiming that there's nothing you worship. In fact, that, in comparison seems the easy way out. Like some sort of wiggling out of tough choices and having to live by them.

No, he says. There's no such thing. Everybody worships.

You get to decide what to worship.

YOU get to decide what to worship.


The burden of commitment in that statement is enormous. Because then, ultimately, you are responsible for whatever it is you worship. Of all the things that you can worship. And there are many.

So, choose carefully.

Love that. Absolutely love that.

Dinner tonight is simple home fare. Couscous with grilled cherry tomatoes and rocket. I saw it at Ottolenghi in Notting Hill the other day. Tasted it, wanted more, couldn't have more, so I asked the lovely girl with the heart-shaped face and the most beautiful blue eyes behind the counter is she knew how he made it. This is my version of what she told me. Or whatever I chose to remember of it.
You get to decide what to worship!

Here's what you need:

  • Olive oil
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • 1 tsp honey
  • ½ tsp ras el hanout spice mix
  • 60g raisins
  • 600g cherry tomatoes
  • 500g couscous
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 garlic cloves, crushed
  • Roughly chopped handfuls rocket, coriander, parsley and mint
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Here's how you do it:

Place a medium pan on a medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, onions, honey, ras el hanout, salt and pepper. Cook for 15-30 minutes, until the onions are caramelised and delicious - soft, dark brown and sweet. Remove from heat, stir in the raisins and set aside.

Place another small pan on high heat. Mix the tomatoes with 2 tablespoons of oil and cook on the hot pan for a few minutes, until the skin is slightly charred and the flesh is soft. Set aside.
For the couscous: Boil 800ml of water. Add salt to the water and a little olive oil or butter if desired, to add moisture. Pour the couscous into boiling water, stir once with a spoon, cover with a lid, and remove from heat. Let the couscous steam for five minutes.Couscous grains tend to bind together in the cooking process, so fluff the grains with a fork. 

Once the couscous has cooled slightly add the onion and raisin mix and stir. Add the cumin seeds, garlic, rocket and most of the herbs, leaving the rest for garnish. Add the lemon juice, salt and pepper and mix. Transfer the couscous to a serving platter scattering with the cherry tomatoes. Garnish with a sprinkle of herbs and drizzle with olive oil.