There is a long-standing tradition in magazines that when someone leaves a job they are presented with a mocked-up version of a cover, featuring them as the cover star. Their face might be Photoshopped on to Angelina Jolie on the red carpet to make it seem as though they were once married to Brad Pitt. There will be spoof lines written in the style of that magazine, but featuring all the in-jokes about their personality quirks or most memorable moments. These covers are a little snapshot of who you were at the time you worked in that office.
Why am I telling you this? Because in a recent clear-out I found a stash of these covers that I have received over the course of my three-decade-long career – it was like finding a time capsule of ‘professional me’ from my 20s, 30s and 40s. While my more glamorous colleagues would have jokes about Fashion Week shenanigans or the celebrity editors got references to late-night escapades at showbiz parties, there was one recurring theme on all of my covers: my obsession with food.
I must have been very vocal about my love of cheese considering the amount of mentions it gets (although it’s true that if I had a motto it would be ‘everything’s better with feta’). The other line that features repeatedly is: ‘What’s everyone having for dinner tonight?’ This was my favourite refrain most afternoons (after I had spent the morning asking everyone what they were having for lunch – I did do some work occasionally, I promise). Many of my go-to weeknight suppers are ideas I have gleaned from asking colleagues that question over the years.
This is all because food, for me, is at the heart of everything – I cook for family or friends to show them I care; I send it as gifts to offer a loving pick-me-up. A good meal will lift my mood or transport me to another country – a week in Positano might involve more paperwork than I can face at the moment, but a big bowl of my favourite seafood spaghetti dish and I could almost be there.
So, as you may imagine, editing this glorious summer food special has not felt like work in the slightest. Even if you’re not as fixated by the next meal as I am, I’m pretty sure you’ll find something in these pages to inspire – whether it’s a delicious barbecue (thank you, Annie Bell for your mouthwatering recipes) or simply an alfresco lunch with a view (check out Tom Parker Bowles’s top spots).
We all deserve some joy in our lives right now and there’s everything you need in this issue to make you feel as though you’re on holiday every day – even if you’re actually just treating yourself to one of our homemade lolly recipes in the back garden.
Enjoy the issue – oh, and do tell me, what are you having for dinner tonight?
Lindsay Frankel, Jo Elvin is away
A few things I’m coveting this week