I love it when your parents go on holiday - you get the house to yourself if you're younger, they get some time out, and when they get back they are infinitely more relaxed. And, if you're lucky, they bring you presents. In my parents case, they've moved on from souvenit t-shirts (but only after repeated requests) to culinary delights. This time, after a recent trip to the Pelopennese, they brought these melt-in-the-mouth Kalamata olives. Succulent and gloriously (almost aubergine) coloured, these little pearls of joy are almost gone despite me only getting them yesterday. There's something wonderfully decadent about olives, their salty taste is that of holidays, and the stones mean that you always have to have a receptacle with you; they're terribly social and deserve more than most, the term amuse-bouche. So next time yours go away, drop a gentle hint for some food; failing that they'll bring you a bottle of plonk - but if you're lucky, they'll bring you both. Bizarrely for me, this was quite a culinary staple, but I have to give an honourable mention to Nigella Lawson, whose fabulous inflection and insistence on decadent easy food has inspired me this week, amongst other Staples:
Wahaca Mexican restaurant
Wearing shirts with the top button done up and no tie; the 'air tie'
The Salisbury Pub in Covent Garden
Nigella Lawson's Express Italian programme
The National's album, 'Boxer'