Monday, November 13, 2006

He wouldn't get very far in the Highlands


“Saturday mornings are always soup and cheese days in our house. The cheese is generally something British bought from the Saturday market trip…there will be bread of some sort or oatcakes and maybe a pear or a bunch of grapes afterwards. We eat it in the kitchen off pottery plates and bowls for no other reason than it feels right.”

Oh Fuck Off Nigel, please. For fuck’s sake man, what the fuck are you twittering on about now. Who’s “we” anyway? It conjures up shivery images of some faceless figure in a black polo neck hanging around Nige’s large London house in awe of its master and playing along to his delusions of culinary grandeur.

“Saturday is also my baking day,” he continues. “The day in which the kitchen wears a white shroud of flour and the smell of warm dough winds its way up to the attic. Sometimes there’s a wobbly, flour-dusted loaf of sourdough waiting [to take all 5 inches of my cock one lonely winter’s evening].”

So Saturday is Nigel’s baking day, is it? I mean, I am fully aware that he is not simply describing his day-to-day life, and that in fact he makes his comfortable London living from a full time media job that takes up a sizeable chunk of his home life. He may even spend many a happy hour testing and refining a recipe for us too downstairs in the basement with his Aga. But that only makes his rosy idyll column even more despicable. Would it really alienate the middle-England ladies and more effeminate types so badly if he threw in the occasional anecdote about how the photographer slipped on a wedge of “indecently oozing Wigmore” during one shoot and ended up in A&E with a pestle stuck in his ass; or about the time when the food-stylist who, on running out of varnish for the Christmas goose, ended up using some specialist lube that happened to be lying around the bathroom that weekend? Why does he have to tell us that the walnuts were organic?

My Saturday was spent recovering from a night of fine dining in George’s kitchen, which as it happens is conceptually identical to mine. He was trying out some ideas for the Wedding in a couple of weeks (which I can no longer bare to talk to anybody about), beginning with two takes on the “Inverskink” hot-soup+smoked-salmon combo. The first was served as a fine tomato consomm√© tasting of a thousand fruits yet the colour of light tea, but it was the creamed celeriac soup with a pile of fish and surrounded with a slick of parsley oil that took the crown. It will be superb when it comes off. Then we ate a huge octopus covered in olive oil, paprika and salt and eaten from a large wooden bowl with cocktail sticks. Finally we had two rounds of oaty-biscuit [a supremely rich and moist flapjack] desert, the first dealt as an oaty sandwich of cool white-chocolate mascarpone topped with a teaspoon of rose sorbet, and the second a triangle of biscuit topped with brown bread ice cream and surrounded by a warm rose coulis. In the end we opted for something in between. The boy can cook, and never is a song and dance made of it. The way food should be, provided you're sober enough to notice.

From there on, however, the weekend’s food intake was rough and sporadic, present as I was at a party that lasted until 11am the following day. Surrounded by drink and drugs and partially enacted teenage fantasies, I had a wild if at times extremely difficult night. The concept of sobriety is little understood up there, let alone that of abstinence. Having been asked the same question “why aren’t you drinking?” repeatedly by the same people all night, I started varying the answers -- one simply being “I am an alcoholic”. Down here in civilization that would be met with some surprise and probably a flustered change of subject, but up there it was more like: “Right. Was it the doctor’s advice or is it the Wife?” Says it all really, although being sober certainly opened my eyes to the wonder of ever better drugs than the usual class Cs.

And then home after no sleep to a burning cunt of a Thai green curry made by the Wife, which failed as did everything to bring me down to Earth or provoke much mental activity. Something about being back home go to me this weekend, and I don’t quite know what it was. But right now this place doesn’t feel right and I need a change. I even, despite being faced with a fridge full of vegetables and various cheese and general mid-week meals material, settled on a good Highland tattie and leek soup for tea, albeit one that was sweetened up by a couple of wrinkly old parsnips and wanked up with a mouldy lump of Cornish Yarg brought by George a couple of weeks back. And there was no pottery in sight, nor any signs of fruity discussion about whether the Yarg would have been better matched with a sweeter bread than the soggy thin slices of insipid brown rectangles spilling out of the bag before me.

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