It comes to us all, assuming we keep breathing. The advance of age. Age and birthdays. The latter are nice, full of presents, cake and kisses from family and friends who do their utmost to ignore your numerous unattractive qualities for one day at least.
The former is not nice. It is marked by growing disappointment with the realisation that, actually, that day in 1983 when you thought you looked a bit fat, was in fact the day you looked your best, your most vibrant, and that day is never coming back.
Fortunately, now that I’m 26, age has not yet caught up with me, unlike this magazine, which, with this edition, hits the big 50. That’s 50 editions packed with recipes and culinary wisdom you never knew you needed – and doubtless still don’t. 50 editions in which we have eulogised on foods humble and highbrow, healthy and heart-stopping. 50 editions in which we have created more ways to serve potatoes than most people have had hot dinners and showcased more ways with an egg than anyone really needs to know.
Looking back on the highlights of our 50 editions, of which I admit there are few, I remember fondly a regular columnist called Cluck – a hen who recounted tales of her life in a city chicken coup until she made the ultimate sacrifice for the good of Mr Fox. We marked her passing with a recipe for roast chicken. There was the edition with a picture of a horse on the front page and a recipe inside for casserole de cheval. That drew some attention. Then there was cake-gate – the chocolate cake recipe printed without the chocolate. That was a novelty.
All in all, it’s been rather wonderful, even the times when the thought of having to come up with one more recipe for choux buns is enough to finish me off. Happy birthday to us… and thank you for reading!