The grey light of the morning, and the dark end of our kitchen, did not prevent these slender leeks, that I bought yesterday from Mme Roustand, from looking like some Jim Dine drawings that I remember from the 70’s. Admittedly they were drawings of spanners and screwdrivers, but the neutrality of the stainless steel, and the desaturated pale green of the leeks took me back there. Another set of synapses were directing thoughts towards leeks bathed in an intense reduction of red wine, butter and cooking juices. Or a creamy leek and potato soup with golden croutons slowly sinking into the pale purée. I adore leeks vinaigrette, but they make me think of summer and there’s still too far to go . They also made me think about a post I had seen ( from the excellent Extra Relish.com ) asking for thoughts on what might be the alimentary zeitgeist of 2011. I think that we will eat less meat. I think the writing is faintly on the wall, as though drawn with a faulty spray can. The writing of Nigel Slater, however, is not faint at all. Measured and considered, certainly, but in no way faint. When he writes of vegetables, they are not cast as extras or crowd scenes. A couple of vibrant green cabbage leaves, quickly blanched, with a grind of black pepper added, would have equal billing with the pork chop. There seems an unreasoning belief that meat is our lifeblood, with the incredible array of vegetables, pulses, fruits and fish treated as, that most unpleasant of culinary terms, a garnish. The look of a Macdonald (I use this as a generic term) says it all. The starring roll has been handed to the tranche of meat with some sad bit parts for bread, salad and vegetables. I should mention that I am not a vegetarian, and if I was, I would proudly “out” myself immediately. Neither am I a dietician. I just love the taste of so many things, that I cannot understand why they should play second fiddle to meat.