Bitch on the Blog

June 6, 2018

Sardines

Early this evening I cut off seven heads. I then gutted the bodies. Butterflied them by gently pressing my hand down the back of their spine and removing same, namely their backbone. And, no, I did’t call any of them Nick by the time they were spineless. I doused them with hot smoked pepper and fried them in olive oil. Served with Padron peppers and other full in your face delicacies.

Yes, sometimes you need to bloody your hands before stuffing your face. Admittedly I only do this with fish. Possibly because, when very very very young (between the age of five and later) I went fishing with my grandfather. First we dug dewy earth and caught the early morning’s worm. Then we set out. On a rowing boat.  In the middle of the (small) lake he’d cast the line. And we’d wait. Quietly. Smiling at each other in conspiracy. I think watching my grandfather reeling in fish of some size – giving a little slack, reeling in, giving a little slack, reeling in, slack, patience and calm – is how I learned to conduct my relationships.

Back at the shore, bucket with fish unloaded, poured onto the grass, my grandfather showed me how to kill. Tool being a piece of fairly substantial wood. Essentially, a bit like Agatha Christie and the butler in the library, a wack at a precise spot just below the back of the head the most benign way to be dispatched if you are a fish. After the gutting, it was over to my grandmother to fry them into a feast. Happy memories.

Six of tonight’s fish heads looked resigned to their fate, Zen like. Number seven looked astonished (mouth wide open). Know how he felt. Whilst I tend to keep my mouth shut other than when smiling (default mode) I too am astonished at times what life has in store for you.

U

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June 1, 2018

Trivia

Filed under: death,Ethics,Food — bitchontheblog @ 13:39
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You can’t help but feel for a guy whose mother was dying on Wednesday, her still hanging on on Friday, reflecting on his blog about his dietary aberrations in the meantime. I dearly hope she left him some chicken soup in the freezer to heat up when she has finally snuffed it. They say chicken soup is good for the soul.

U

 

May 5, 2018

Debt to pleasure

Conceited bastard that I am I rarely quote anyone, preferring to make up my own “shit” (reference John’s assessment of my merits). There are exceptions to my rule and here is one, courtesy of Frederic Mistral:

“Aioli epitomises the heat, the power and the joy of Provencal sun, but it has another virtue – it drives away flies.”

Made me think of the limitations of communicating in the virtual world: How not so much DRIVE away flies as not to ATTRACT them in the first place. Or, worse, not to BECOME a pesky fly yourself.

On this happy note I am certain the aioli I am just about to make won’t curdle.

U

 

February 26, 2018

The Alternative Comment Box, Interval 1 – Know your onions

Filed under: Amusement,Food,Fortune,Happiness,Joy,Kitchen — bitchontheblog @ 19:15
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Whilst giving forces who think they are [forces] a chance to regroup let me shed a tear over onions.

One of these days I will calculate how many onions I have chopped over a life lived so far. What is remarkable about chopping onions: Unlike when, say, playing the guitar you grow callouses to render your fingertips without feeling (one of the reasons I don’t play the guitar), your eyes will never ever grow used to an onion’s onslaught. You cried over your first onion you’ll cry over your last onion. That’s about it. Scant comfort, unlike with many other deals in life, you know where you stand. And smell.

Secondly, short of the rather irritating, coming at you unasked,  cakes in the motherland and trifles in the fatherland, virtually any dish worth its salt will start with an onion. Onions are ritual. One of these days, when I am about one hundred and twenty and Ms Misery will have died a not so miserable death (I hope) and in order to keep me occupied in her absence, I shall ponder what would actually happen to our palate’s concern, sensibilities and sensitivities if the onion was shown the door and never grown again.

I can see it now: My first memoir and self help book, titled “Life without an onion”. If that won’t make you cry little else will.

U

May 25, 2017

Spoilt for choice

There is a regular program on Radio Four (BBC, Sunday morning) called Desert Island Disks. Someone of relative public interest is invited to talk about their life and, intermittently, ten pieces of music of their choice are played.  They’ll then be asked to choose one of them to take with them – don’t say the BBC isn’t generous – before being shipped away and with little hope to return. You are given the Bible. You may choose one other book and one (in numbers 1) luxury item. No, not me. I am not a luxury item. I am cheap.

It’s amazing what people will choose as their luxury item. For heaven’s sake – who needs silk sheets in the middle of nowhere? Take a Swiss Army Pen Knife instead. What would I take? I don’t know. It’s not likely to be allowed within in the parameters of the programme but most likely a never ending supply of my favourite fruit/vegetable. Which is … What? Trying to come to a decision will take some time – a most welcome interval to delay the evil departure.

So, what about you? What’s your luxury item, food or otherwise, to take to the desert island? Please don’t say a harpoon. Life doesn’t work like that.

Tom Hanks greetings, and don’t forget to squirrel away some matches and don’t let them get wet during your voyage,

U

November 4, 2016

Know your onions

Filed under: Amusement,Food — bitchontheblog @ 14:12
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As posts go my last was a flop.

Before I threw myself on the line yesterday evening I had sliced an onion, nay two, very finely AND I did NOT cry. My tear ducts were as unmoved as Salome’s when John’s head was presented to her on a silver platter.

Which made me take note.

The absence of eye water throwing up my existential question, namely, how many years and onions it takes before you stop crying. I did a quick calculation, more of which in a moment.

Magpie proceeds to tell me – at length – how to cut an onion. I didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry. I slept it over. In the morning Ramana – as only assorted Asians can – advised me to pay someone to do my dirty work for me. Leaving aside that I enjoy cutting onions and making my own bed, it shows you a cultural difference. On a finer note he adds that – having cut many an onion – I should be able to AFFORD someone to do it for me. My dear Ramana, I can barely afford myself. Never mind anyone else.

So, working on a rough average per day and taking the years into account, my mental arithmetic serving me well, I’d say so far over my lifetime I have diced, cubed, sliced, grated, quartered and generally battled and enjoyed doing so somewhere between 14,600 and 19,900 onions.

U

 

 

 

November 3, 2016

The Lady of Shallot

How many years and onions does it take of cutting them (sliced, cubed) before you stop crying in the process?

U

August 24, 2016

Food heaven

Despite what most bloggers wish to believe – none of you are saints, and even saints may have a mean streak.

My mean streak? It is a shocker if ever there was one. And I am not proud of it.

Before you hyperventilate in anticipation of my confession – do sit down at my table and enjoy (food cooked by me). And you will [enjoy]. What you don’t do, because thus disappointment lies, ask me for THE RECIPE. I know people think it’s the ultimate compliment. It isn’t. Trust me. It’s a gross intrusion into, nay violation of, my treasure trove. I will NOT give you the recipe. Come back again for more of the same – but don’t ask me for the recipe.

The above notion problematic in reverse – as I learnt as a young bride having landed on these culinary shores ca. mid 1980s. You enthuse over someone’s food; the host(ess), oh so polite and sweet mannered, will beam at you: “Would you like the recipe?” No, actually, I don’t. Naturally, I didn’t, and still don’t, say that. It’d be plain rude if I did. Instead of which you (that’s me) walk away feeling ashamed knowing full well that I myself would never offer full disclosure of my biggest successes. Though – mitigating circumstances – will give veiled hints how NOT to do it.

If none of you ever speak to me again – that’s my loss.

Hugs and hisses,

U

December 16, 2015

Pathetic

This post is going to HURT. Me. Not you.

Do you actually know what it means to go out there, face your fellow men – and BEG? Don’t answer.

Yes, the season of good will. One week to go and I still haven’t procured the goose that – once upon a time – flew effortlessly, caressed by me, onto the laden table.

If anyone, ever and so smug, tells me that money doesn’t buy you happiness I’ll tell them to …

Such a happy life I believe to have led between the age of 19 and …

Now? For the last six/seven years? I don’t know. Sometimes I wish I were Virginia Woolf. I don’t mean the author. I am not given to being a writer. I love the word. I don’t need publicity. Yes, stones in your coat’s pockets and water. But, as a doctor recorded many years ago: “Won’t act on impulse on account of her son”.

Indeed. I believe all of us to be selfish to the core, yet there are limits as to what we do to others.

A fool I ain’t. The moment I committed to motherhood was the moment I realized that life wasn’t my own any more. Happy I had the guts to take the plunge.

Everything went swimmingly. Twenty four years down the line I fail. Put that into your assorted handkerchieves.

U

October 2, 2014

Gender

Filed under: Amusement,Food — bitchontheblog @ 12:05
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Sweethearts, yesterday I left an innocent remark on fresh basil. Yes, basil. The herb. Erb for Americans.

Remark on basil, the (h)erb, and you will be called “a British middle class male dickhead”. I am not easily stunned but slightly perplexed at this summoning up of me. Particularly the ‘male’ since in my experience, not that I’d ever call anyone one, dickheads are male. By definition. Mind you, and in all fairness, about a year or two ago I asked the Angel why men call each other …. never mind. Starts with c ends with t. As mysteries go it’s dense undergrowth.

A kind fellow commentator queried that maybe “assumptions” were made about me. Do you think that original fucker/fuckeress had the grace to apologize? Not on your nellie.

Let not any of you be put off your basil. As the Greeks say it’s the king of herbs. With a smell to die for. I don’t even have it in my heart, though wish I did, to will infestation of black fly on his basil.

Blisters on my feet,

U

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