May 2012

Bringing up children is a trial as well as a joy. Their lack of worldly experience gives them a razor-sharp clarity that fades with advancing years and is often gone by the time they’re 10. When our youngest was younger, she possessed this clarity and wielded it without mercy. Often in my wisdom, I told both her and her sister “There is no such thing as a stupid question. Only a stupid answer.” Once, in frustration, I responded to yet another “Are we there yet?” from the back seat of the car with “Don’t ask stupid questions.”

When my youngest was a lot younger, she would rarely be direct about anything. If she wanted something out of the ordinary like some new clothes, or something ‘girly’ of which I probably would not approve, she would do something daft like write out a request (along with a smiley face) and slip it under the sitting room door. While she was a little thing and cute, those notes always got the desired result. As she has aged and the ravages of time have started to take their toll (she is 20 now), she trys more subtle methods of influencing me. 

They say that as one gets older, one tends to reminisce about better times in the years gone by. The summers were always sunnier, the fashions more fashionable and the food tastier.

Perhaps when I am at the stage where my last few friends will visit me to wheel my bath chair into the morning sun, I may begin to think this way. But, today, I still have my faculties (if not my follicles) so I know how much better things are now than back then.

Why does Anthony Worrell Thompson stick celery in his and sprinkles it with parsley?

Why does Julia Child crumble bay leaf into hers?

Why does Jamie Oliver needs two bottles of wine?

Why does Nigel Slater use one bottle in his?

Why does the Belfast Telegraph shove a chicken stock cube into theirs?

Why does Gordon F***** Ramsey recommend Irish Soda Bread with it?

Why does James Martin say to have it with mash?

Why does AWT above say to have it with new potatoes?

Why do ‘all recipes dot com’ not use carrots in theirs?

I’m happy to report that I am one of the few exceptions to the ‘degeneration with age’ rule. Like a fine wine, I have gained subtlety and depth with the passage of time. I have also learned some interesting, if seemingly irrelevant, facts. One such pearl of wisdom is that the average bath holds 320 litres of water. That is about 84 gallons in American.

This puts me in mind of the story about the chap who, suffering from a skin rash, went to the doctor. The doctor gave him some tonic and told him to take two teaspoons of it after a warm bath. A week later, the patient returned. His skin rash worse. The doctor asked him if he took the tonic. He replied “No, I couldn’t do it Doctor. Sure, I couldn’t even finish drinking the bath.”

I usually start my posts with a little story. I do this to set the scene and to try to make my recipe posting stand out just a little from the hundreds of thousands of other recipe posts that are published every week on the Interweb. I have enjoyed modest (very modest) success with this approach. This is despite my ignoring best SEO practice and not including the subject in the headline and often drawing on the most tenuous links between subject and object.

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