An update on my cookery course is long overdue. Things have pretty much settled into a rhythm, and most of the narrative interest is anthropological rather than gastronomic.

We’re not really competing on the quality of our cooking, and there’s nothing but co-operation food-wise: I have no trouble getting a lend of some yoghurt when my 12p bargain-pot from the co-op turns out to strawberry-flavour [doh!!], and a fellow student and I are zooming back and forth between our cookers as we keep a close eye on how the other’s rogan josh is doing. (If it looks like there’s too much liquid, just let it cool, and you may find the sauce is a lot more sticky and thick than you think.)

So maybe it’s just me, but I think people are coming earlier and earlier, getting started sooner and sooner, and bringing more and more pre-chopped ingredients (given the first fifteen minutes is always chopping onions, this does make some sense). Are we really racing for some imaginary prize, scoring cheap points out of currying faster?

Funnily, although more and more of what were once obscure secrets are now being revealed to me — how to make a rogan josh which tastes better than a carry-out, how to make those noodles you get in bombay mix — nothing’s losing its mystery or appeal. I can know how to do it, and even know that I know how to do it, and yet I can still find it amazing every time that I actually manage to produce a tasty supper!

Tomorrow night CB and I are going to experiment on two guinea pigs, sorry, friends of ours — I think the only danger will be in trying to do too much at once. But if we do achieve the culinary equivalent of falling of your bike while trying to do a particularly impressive wheelie, you can be sure I’ll pass on the gory details…