Reading around the internet about cooking reveals some interesting stuff. My latest bugbear is over-complication. I see some ‘brand name’ chefs obfuscating processes needlessly. I wonder why? Perhaps it’s to preserve some mystique around their ‘art’. Perhaps it’s that they just don’t know any better. Or, perhaps it’s for more commercial reasons?
Those of you who have read part 1 of this 2 part mini series will possibly be expecting some word play and banter around the general ‘Wisdom’ theme. Sorry to disappoint but, I am not going there again. No, this time I am going to impart some gathered wisdom around dinner party behaviour. First, I will back-fill with a little tale from my distant memory.
When I brought up the serious topic of ploughed potato fields versus potato mountains on Shepherds Pie, I thought I had put all the arguments to bed. There were some feeble-minded individuals who suggested that I might have been wrong about the ploughed fields. I will deal with them another time. Flori over at Flori Cooks had the effrontery to suggest that the mountains on a Fish Pie should be replaced with waves. “WAVES?” I thought. Where does she get off telling me how to do my fish pie?
No trip to the south coast of France can be complete without a stop in the covered market at Les Halles in Narbonne. The place buzzes with life and anybody with an interest in food will spend a couple of hours there without noticing. Let’s start with a few pictures:
Picture the scene. Saturday evening and the Wife is getting a bit fidgety, sticking her head around the kitchen door and asking when we will be eating. I am with her long enough that I should know the signs. I have bought a couple of nice pieces of plaice and plan to do something. Something that I should photograph as I do it. My mind is on the cooking and not where it should be. On her plaintive questions…..
Am I losing my touch? It was Friday. I had planned the ‘Family Dinner’ that we have pretty well every Sunday. I let the diners know that we would be having Roast Leg of Wicklow Lamb Studded With Garlic and Rosemary, served with a Wine Gravy, Parsnips, Carrots and Potatoes. This is a crowd pleaser. However, things were not to go according to plan. First to drop out was my mother. In fairness, a viral infection having led to a week in bed qualified as a half reasonable excuse. Eldest daughter and boyfriend did a double diss, preferring dinner at his over the magnificence on offer in these parts. The most crushing blow was delivered by youngest daughter, favoring some late teenage party with friends over my culinary exploits. Only the Wife remained loyal, saving me from my feelings of total rejection.
Here in Dublin, the temptation to find a snug and enjoy a few pints is never far away. We have a long and rich pub tradition. A night spent on the drink in Dublin attracts numerous colloquialisms: “A few scoops.”, the great understatement “A couple of pints.” and my favourite “On the batter”. I have no idea where the expression comes from. Perhaps it refers to where the evening would often conclude? In the chipper, where most things bar the chips are deep-fried in batter.