I am hungry yet have no appetite.
Vegetarians, look away now. This is not a pretty sight.
I have eaten rabbit – in Spain. I am not squeamish. Whilst I have never killed anything that makes a sound there was a time I collected worms in the early morning dew, my grandfather showing me how to thread them on a hook and how to kill a fish. I was very young. And it’s a life skill I am grateful for should I ever find myself on a desert island. Fish are easy to dispatch. And no one loves fish more than this mermaid.
Years later, in my early twenties, I was given a rabbit. It was skinned and gutted. So no hardship there. I put it in the fridge. If there is one thing that can be said about rabbits it’s that their bodies resemble that of a cat. I like cats. A fridge will do what a fridge will do. Refrigerate. The dish the rabbit was in had a lid on.
Readers, no, I didn’t get married neither did I roast the rabbit. I let it fester. In the fridge. What a fine forensic pathologist I would have made.
Let’s leave it there. That poor poor rabbit never met its destiny. I binned it complete in vessel. Without lifting the lid to pour over the damage. Yes, that long and bad.
Sweethearts, it’s just been brought to my attention that we are about to celebrate the 65th anniversary of the microwave.
Americans, and everyone else, please do look away NOW: I don’t have a microwave. As shameful secrets go this one ranks high.
What are microwaves actually for? Not to pass up on Zeitgeist I bought one a few years ago. In the time it took me to still not understand its mechanics I could have baked a LARGE potato in the oven, made a ragu and assembled a Lasagne, both from scratch, and defrosted the whole freezer by hand, and in a timely manner.
If ever there was a gadget in my kitchen – other than that weapon of mass destruction, namely the pressure cooker – leaving me flummoxed it’s the microwave. I was in awe of it. It sat there. Neat. Pleasing to the eye. Yet so superfluous. Since even a microwave has a right to fulfill its destiny I sold it to a more appreciative soul.
Good old as new Grannymar turned last Friday consortium’s obsession into Eternity. Which quickly escalated into the stomach turning Opium. I will try not to be unkind.
Opium, so Eighties, Dallas and Margaret Thatcher’s yuppies, and as the name implies a perfume only to be worn at night. When it won’t so much turn stomachs, as on. But, I agree: It’s heavy on the top notes. Eternity I will sniff out tomorrow on my way through town to get a measure of the woman (that’s GM). May I give all women, aspiring or not, one piece of advice: You never EVER give away the name of the scent you are wearing. NEVER, EVER. Even if it means you have to fork out for it yourself. Marilyn Monroe telling the world that she only wore Chanel No 5 to bed was forgiveable in those times of neither cheap nor easily available titillation.
I make Jean an Arpege. Whatever she says she is. BHB, don’t know. Difficult since I imagine she will try anything given to her – and probably has flasks from decades ago wilting in her drawers. Which reminds me, BHB, unless I have got date wrong: HAPPY BIRTHDAY and may you entertain me for many a year to come (how much more selfish can I get?).
PS Nose plays tricks on us. You can never smell yourself as others do. So don’t overdose on anything artificial. Particularly not when going for a meal – with other women for company.:The fog, an assault on your olfactory, will leave anyone in vicinity - not least the waiter – nauseated, appetite lost before you’ve even glanced at the menu.
None of what I have said here applies to men. Men need all the help they can get from a discerning adoring female with a fine nose.
Anyone of a squeamish disposition do look away now.
I used up potatoes last night to make soup – just for myself; would never offer experiments on the squeamish or anyone else. It was awful. In fact, it was so awful I am now considering starting a blog on cooking never to embark on. Don’t know what went wrong but splutter I did. In the privacy of my own company.
That’s neither here nor there. Mistakes happen. My motto: Live for a long time and repent at leisure.
However, NOW I am left with a rather large quantity of very liquidy inedible soup to be decanted into a plastic bin bag. I have lived long enough to know that that bag will leak on its way down to the waste disposal. Please don’t tell me to use a lot of (un)read newspaper print as a base: None around. Being of my disposition this causes me anxiety; not because I mind mopping up spillage on my way back up the stairs – having already just now cleaned bathroom to my usual high standards – but because I do not wish to be found mopping by either neighbours or son returning any moment soon. Other people get so very easily embarrassed. Inconvenient to ME to say the least. Normally I’d just let fester that which goes wrong till it solidifies; thus so much easier to dispose off, unnoticed: Unfortunately I need that particular pan to make a cheese sauce. NOW. Wish me luck. Should you never hear from me again it’s because I slipped on the remains of what was meant to be a divine potato soup. Please do bring cheese at my funeral.
Sweethearts, shuffling deckchairs on the Titanic does NOT pay.
Better keep rinsing pulses and chitting potatoes after today’s consortium’s inspiring offerings. Not that I didn’t enjoy Magpie’s history lesson – particularly the link between Columbus bringing potatoes to Europe in exchange for a spot of STD to America. You might call Christopher the father of today’s globalization. Also liked Conrad’s subtle, yet snide, remark about the Senate.
gaelikaa always likes to tell a story, ususally another chapter in the art of perfecting patience; from Grannymar, considering that she comes from a large family and spuds are an Irish staple, I expected something on the joys of peeling potatoes to stuff many mouths. Oddly, it was one of the jobs my mother used to think me most suitable for – neither did she believe in swivel peelers.
I am sure all your recipes are delicious (depending on what your mother’s cooking was like and your own culinary expectations since) though – if I may say so - there are more imaginative things one can do with both potatoes and beans other than cooking them. Still, I am not here to piss on anyone’s parade, or am I?
Sweet gaelikaa, in the dark of what my current predicament is, recently urged me to phone the Samaritans to save me from throwing myself off an imaginary cliff. I am afraid there is no Samaritan (other than Bill Gates, Richard Branson, Charles Saatchi, any of you or myself) who can rescue me in the short term. However, for those of your friends who do weep, for clinical reasons, quietly into their daily bowl of lentil potage look no further than a book titled “Potatoes, NOT Prozac” (‘Prozac’ being the generic term for anti-depressants). Makes you think, Magpie, doesn’t it: First Americans export the mightily useful potato to the greater good of the rest of the world, only to then flood us with pharmaceuticals. One of my friends rattles with pills, keeping the whole of Bayer in profit. I have offered him many a baked potato – to no avail.
To add humility to my humiliation here is a potato about your very own Ursula (aged nine): At the time we lived in deepest country side (north of Hamburg); my best friend, a farmer’s daughter, invited me to help her and her family with a day’s potato harvest. Oh, the anticipation of it! I was so excited. My mother doubted that donning my very best WHITE shirt for the occasion was a good choice of clothing. And yes, my friend’s father did laugh out loud when he saw me turn up in my finest which did make me blush momentarily. Not for long: I so did enjoy pulling out the potatoes out of the dark sandy soil with my bare hands, filling buckets in the blazing sun, the fire lit on the field in the evening. Never tasted a potato better. Neither was a white shirt dyed black more efficiently – ever. I didn’t care. It was a great day. Whether I’d made a fool of myself or not.
PS I still have magnificent gift to dress inappropriately
Since, for reasons plausible, I am in a bad mood already I went over to Grannymar’s to reinforce that which is just about to explode. As expected I was not disappointed.
In my defence, and anyone close to me will confirm this: I do warn people, before they speak to me, whenever the chips are down. It’s then their choice whether to retreat or not. You can’t say fairer than that, can you?
Grannymar is punctual. Great. Can’t wait. One of her commentors is early: Not so great (for her host that is). What a sanctimonious self congratulatory lot GM and her commentors are. Has anyone of them ever broken down in the middle of nowhere, forgotten to put the clock forward, been held up in a traffic jam, batteries run down on mobile/cell phone, broken a foot? What is wrong with these people? If someone is late, someone is late. FULL STOP. No need to make a big meal of and then dine out on it.
Or maybe some of GM’s guests are ‘passive aggressive’ and don’t want to attend some boring function in the first place. Yes, I do apologize for this last remark. It’s entirely uncalled for.
Shall now go and put finishing touches on dinner with all my guests already drunk yet patient and waiting for their hostess.
Sweethearts, for some of you this TIP OF THE DAY may come too late.
A few days ago, wiping my brow in the midst of chaos, I succumbed to that which I only do when I have no time for cooking yet 18year old(s) in urgent need to be fed: Ordering a take away. Naturally it took me longer to explore the menu than if I had ground my Garam Masala from scratch but at least the place is an award winner and the chef I spoke to on the phone a paragon of patience. He talked me through the intricacies of Tikka Dansak and Tikka Pathia and everything else on the menu (what do I know about Indian food? Not a lot).
So bad, so good. On delivery I got into minor tangle with lid of the Prawn Madras which had taken Apple of my Eye only 2 seconds to decide on; sauce spilling all over my favourite denim skirt. The Empire has a lot to answer for. I know where disaster lies: One is beetroot juice, the other is turmeric. Immediately soaked skirt in cold water, consulted beloved and best of all reference books on stain removal in my usual misguided optimism only to find: ” Most stains can be removed unless it’s TURMERIC”. It’s the sort of news on a par when people tell you that you are dead. However, luckily my heart rarely sinks before all routes are explored. Since it was middle of the night Indian time I did not send SOS to gaelikaa and Ramana as was my first impulse but searched, as one does, the internet, and lo and behold all you need to do is very LITTLE. Rinse garment, leave it out in the sun to dry and the stain will vanish. It’s magic if ever there was one. I CANNOT BELIEVE IT. IT WORKED. If anyone can work their magic on beetroot stains please do reciprocate.
PS The food and its taste was to die for!
I probably don’t come across as the type of person who makes time to bake her own bread. Yet, I do. English pap is rubbish if ever there was one, and expensive too. Not that the expense of a loaf of bread matters to me if only it [the bread] were worth it. It isn’t. If there is one complaint, apart from all the others, that visitors from mainland Europe – where breadmaking is an ART – will make: It’s about the dismal results of your average British bakery. So putting myself out to bake the bake is a form of self-defense.
Except sometimes, like just now, it backfires. I put my dead-foolproof-put-together-in-five-minutes dough onto a shelf in the conservatory (that’s a south-facing wintergarten to most of us) to RISE thus allowing it to double its size. Rise it did. Naturally I forgot all about it. Now the enthusiastically rising dough has spilled itself all over onto some of my paper files temporarily stored on the shelf underneath. Which means that I have just realised the beauty of reaching a certain age: You are past caring. And no one, other than myself and readers of this blog, will ever know how I bodge my life.
The loaf is in the oven.
Before any of you admonish me for what is to come: I never asked to write a blog – and now that I do, and just as predicted by me, it’s turning out to be like a puppy in need of potty training.
Still, what I start I finish. I sometimes wish I wouldn’t have to live up to the name I adopted in the wake of Conradgate but such are the powers of suggestion and an adopted identity: Needs must, as do bitches. Conrad turns out to be good value for my pains. And I quote him addressing Grannymar: “For some reason, you are suddenly SPAM and I see nothing different in your entries.”
Oh, Conrad. It’s brilliant – from whichever angle I look at it. It’s 0310 BST and I can’t stop laughing. Not that I have ever bought spam; but on my travails down the aisles of my supermarket I won’t pass the shelf with that pink stuff inside a can without a big grin on my face.