Olivia Potts

The art of arancini

  • From Spectator Life

As I write this, I am wearing a thick jumper and sitting under a blanket, having just put the heating on. Earlier, rain fell on our skylight so heavily, the dog jumped up as if we were being invaded. I changed my schedule this morning so I could bake, just to take advantage of the oven’s warmth. It certainly doesn’t feel like sunny days are in our near future.

I’ve read that the last year has felt warped time-wise, that it’s been hard to form memories that stick in the usual way, because we don’t have the events, the change in daily routine, the hooks onto which we peg our days, our weeks, our minds. So perhaps it’s not surprising that given the events of the last year, combined with the cold snap that it seems implausible that Spring is here and Summer is coming.

I have just about made peace with the fact that I won’t be sunning my face anywhere more exotic than Salford this year, and that my options are limited to pub gardens or my own garden. I feel militant about embracing this: that while my options are limited, I need to be proactive about the outside life. I am prepared to insist on every meal being in the garden, irrespective of goosebumps, bolshy pigeons, or apocalyptic rain. I’m ready to count the orange in my aperol spritz as one of my 5 a day, and I don’t even like aperol spritz. If I can’t get myself to those balmy Italian evenings, those balmy Italian evenings are going to have to come to me.

But I’m no fool: this is England, after all. If we’re going to embrace this peculiar period that demands socialising outdoors, that pays no heed to the realities of our weather forecast, then we’re going to need more than a beer jacket and an actual jacket.

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Olivia Potts
Written by
Olivia Potts
Olivia Potts is a former criminal barrister who retrained as a pastry chef. She co-hosts The Spectator’s Table Talk podcast and writes Spectator Life's The Vintage Chef column. A chef and food writer, she was winner of the Fortnum and Mason's debut food book award in 2020 for her memoir A Half Baked Idea.

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