As part of the ’73 challenge’ my fellow blogger on our Moving Dragons blog has set us, we have conducting an interview on the list; I decided that I would really challenge myself by doing an actual spoken interview, recording it, and sharing it here… Well, technical problems have arisen and so although it will be attempted, for the moment I am going to do a written interview. Just to make it a bit different, and maybe it will seem a bit strange, I am going to interview a character I have written about.
I don’t know if it is the same for other writers, but some characters I write about almost seem to become separate from my imagination, and when I am writing they do unpredictable and sometimes foolish things. This doesn’t mean that when I am editing and working on my complete novels I don’t try to eliminate inconsistencies and things done and said which don’t seem true to the imaginary individual I have created. Nor do I have any illusion that they are actually real and living in a different dimension!!
The ideas for the questions I’m posing are taken from a food magazine but with a lot of tweaking…
So here is Thomas Radwinter explaining what is ‘his cup of tea‘:
My Cup of Tea
Q: What dish reminds you of your childhood?
Thomas: Um… well… I actually didn’t have an exactly brilliant childhood… things all went a bit wrong… but I do remember one happy time… which will probably seem a bit strange… anyway… I remember once it was at night and we were in the kitchen and it was dark and the oven was on and John my brother and I were sitting in front of the open oven and it was really warm, and we were eating baked beans out of bowls with a spoon. John was telling me a story – we were cowboys out on the lonesome range and we were sitting round our campfire…
Whenever we have baked beans, I always think of that, and think of how we were lovely and warm and John was making me laugh with his story
Q: Do you cook any of the things you ate as a child?
Thomas: I have had a go at making baked beans myself… My boy liked them, but none of the rest of the family did, so I guess I won’t be doing that again! These days what I cook depends on what is in season on my brother’s allotment, what is going cheap at the veg shop, and any offers on at the butcher’s or supermarkets! I guess this means we eat quite healthily – and it also means I do cook some strange stuff according to what I’ve bought! I’m not bad at cakes, the kids’ favourite is my orange surprise cake – it was supposed to be lemon drizzle but we didn’t have any lemons so it was a surprise because it was oranges! (They were going cheap at Val’s, the veg shop)
Q: What’s for breakfast?
Thomas: Breakfast is supposed to be really important isn’t it? My wife likes a cooked breakfast and because I’m a bit more flexible in my work (being a stay-at-home dad and part-time solicitor) I make sure she has something cooked – even if it’s only beans on toast (beans again!) or a scrambled egg before she flies out of the door. The two oldest are at school so they usually have porridge and then maybe an egg (we eat a lot of eggs but we get most of them from the old bloke who has an allotment next to my brother’s) The three littlies (yes we have five children) have porridge or cereal and fruit or toast, or an egg… kids’ breakfast stuff… I know it’s bad for me but quite often I sort of forget breakfast for me – and then have elevenses later when everyone is where they should be!
Q: What food do you never run out of?
Thomas: um… well, veg – because of the allotment! And there’s usually cake.
Q: Which chef would you love to have cook for you?
Thomas: Crikey! That’s a tricky question!! We love going to my friend Leo’s Italian restaurant; his family come from Apulia so most of what he cooks is traditional from there… I have another friend who is Armenian and we love going to his restaurant too! So I guess Leo or Vekan…. as for a famous chef… um… I’m a bit out of touch these days… I do use Claudia Roden’s recipes a lot so that would be amazing if she cooked a meal for us!!!
Q: What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?
Thomas: This probably isn’t very strange in the top ten of really weird and peculiar things that people eat like unusual parts of an animal or insects or bird spit… but when I found a recipe which involved frying sprouts with black pudding, that actually did seem might odd… especially as you make a sort of sauce with blue cheese… Actually it tasted jolly good, and everyone who said sprouts were disgusting tucked into it and I had to make some more… so that was jolly strange… except it isn’t any more as we quite often have it when we get given sprouts by Val from the veg shop.
Q: where in the world would you like to go and try the local food?
Thomas: Anywhere!!!! I just love food!!! I guess I would like to go to Apulia and Armenia, but most I would like to go to Tobago. My wife’s father is from Tobago, and two of my children are… so a family holiday to Tobago would be great!
Q: best biscuits for dunking?
Thomas: I don’t dunk! I think it’s horrible!
Q: how do you take your tea?
Thomas: usually as quickly as possible because I’m always in a tearing hurry! Actually I like it strong with not too much milk – and just ordinary, I’m not keen on fancy stuff like Earl Gray or fruit teas…
If you want to find out more about Thomas, you can read his stories here: