Parsley, Present and Future.

Chris Marshall
4 min readDec 30, 2023


Have you ever tried to finely chop a bunch of flat leaf parsley? It’s hard to know where to start sometimes. A rabble of leaves and stalks that fail to lie down in any sort of uniformity. You could painstakingly align each and every stem, pulling strands away and laying them neatly beside their neighbour but even the most Cordon Bleu commis’ doesn't have time for that.

It can look daunting, and that first cut provides no comfort as odd leaves inevitably tumble towards the floor. You gather the chaos back together and cut again, gather and then cut again, and then again. Slowly but surely steel parts the verdant sea, waves of green turning from high galloping horses to gentle breakers across a meadow stream.

How fine you go is up to you but come the end there is a satisfaction that from early chaos some semblance of order has risen up in front of you.

Cooking has always been an accessible escape to me, we all need to eat after all, and the ever expanding armada of fare that early navigators traded across the globe, now found amongst supermarket shelves and online recipes today, provide a unique set of challenges and problems to solve.

Why is this recipe only in American cups? Tesco Express is not going to have kohlrabi at 8pm on a Thursday night? Where the hell is that whisk?

The perfect recipe doesn’t exist, even when you follow every instruction to the milligram and answer every query, but find the right gastromonic solution, through improvisation or by taking a bit of a punt on something broadly the same found in the back of your cupboard and you can still find yourself with hunger satisfied a short time later.

Only recently have I started to draw parallels between cooking and how it helps me, imperfections in process producing sparks that lead to a new way of thinking; whether that be through switching off with music blaring, by taking a lunchtime break to step away from a problem, to provide simple pleasure or even to help reflect on finding a new direction.

In recent weeks the latter has come more to the fore. Having gone freelance earlier in the year (the first couple of months of which I did not handle well) I’ve found myself for the first time in a long time thinking about what comes next with the blank slate that is 2024 fast approaching, the last three years having been spent turning what’s always been an inkling into something that I still find odd to claim as a career.

Chopping, stirring and tasting over the last month or so various thoughts have wafted through my brain and like a bunch of untamed parsley here’s a list in un-redacted form and in no particular order: The world’s a big place do I want to be tied to Scotland for the rest of my life? Can staying in Scotland even match what I want to achieve? What do I even want to achieve? TV for all its talk of wanting to be acccessible and speak to the working class, really isn’t? Why does SWNT not have it’s own distinct social voice ahead of a year when the men’s national team are off to Germany? How the hell am I affording Germany? Would I rather be working there or be a fan? Should I finish those two book pitches and what happens if I’ve then got to write them? How do I tell more stories about (good) people and places? People should feel like they can dream to be whatever they want to be because the last thing anybody needs is somebody rushing to cut them down, I want to help that. Thank fuck there are some good people in this world and when will they get their chance to rise to the top? For like, a day, can the world be fucking normal?

That last one I imagine is pretty universal but without spending that odd hour in my kitchen I’m unsure if that list would have been anywhere near as coherent, and slowly I’ve started peeling back the layers of what could be next.

One of the realisations is that I write far more than I share, which is why this tale of thought provoking chiffonades has arrived, although this should not be taken as a sign I’m set to share it all any time soon,

This share is almost functional, a detour as I wrestle with how to sum up a year immersed in Scottish women’s football more than ever before. Where there are questions that deserve exploration and fair scrutiny but also whether the accountability needed is where I want to channel my time as, being truthful, I’m not sure where the benefit lies any more.

It may still come but, if it doesn’t, at least the breadcrumb trail for those curious enough to find out why is here.

That decision will probably come in the kitchen, the same way choices for others may become clearer in the gym, up a munro, on football touchlines or with hands in the air as an oscillating strobe washes over you.

We all have our spaces to think with freedom, away from the clutter of reality, perhaps unknowingly, perhaps with deliberate action. They are important and we should protect them.

That said, if anyone wants to think over a sink full of dirty dishes then I’m happy to help you clear your mind.



Chris Marshall

Writer | Piehopper | Scottish Women’s Football Hype Man.