Welcome to September’s Observer Food Monthly | Food

Each morning, after the bowl of yoghurt and the piece of fruit, I will eat a bowl of green leaves. A verdant tumble of kale, lettuce, watercress and whatever else is around, and very often some ribbons of sauerkraut too. For no particular reason, this silky softness of butterhead lettuce and the frilly dryness of kale, or because it is simply easier to pick up long stems of watercress with fingers than with cutlery. (Or possibly, that I can’t be bothered to get up and walk to the cutlery drawer.) I only know that it is something of a habit. In the course of a day, I probably put as much food to my lips with my hands as with a fork.

In this issue, Shahnaz Ahsan writes about the joy of eating with our hands, from kacchi biryani to tacos and pizza. A lovely read for a Sunday morning. This is something of a hands-on issue, as Jay devotes his column this month to his newfound habit of cleaning up as he cooks. I have no idea what took him so long, but it is something I too developed later in life. This late-onset neatness in the kitchen is something I embraced partly because if I don’t wash and wipe as I go, then I will have to spend an hour or more doing it later, when I least feel like brandishing the tea towel. Welcome to the tidy team, Jay.

There are recipes too – a collection from Motherland, the new cookbook by Melissa Thompson, including corn fritters and Guinness punch pie. We also have Jay Blades of The Repair Shop, Tom Kerridge and Nisha Katona. Plus, John Whaite, who this time last year was amazing us on the Strictly dancefloor, reveals his secret kitchen ingredient. Welcome to the first of our delicious autumn issues.

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