Sauce Pot!

Keen-eyed readers who like mystery novels and television shows may wish to turn their detective powers onto the heading image and see if they can figure out what we are having for dinner.

Winter has arived in Perth with prescribed burn-offs in the bush and lowering temperatures. The crayfish salad and tiny cold delicacy on the vast white plate has given way to food that will actually fuel the boiler. As the local fast food chains have decided to eliminate taste from their products – having gotten rid of nutrition some years ago – and the pubs have finally given in to their accountants and started charging $ 75 for a piece of steak ( Saw the menu the other night – still on oxygen. ), I’ve decided to make our own dinners.

This dish is no closer to traditional Italian cuisine than the local IGA supermarket shelves. As the checkout girl has dark hair I pretend she is from Milano and that makes it all authentic. If I lived in North Perth or the City of Stirling it might actually be, but I suspect the people who make the sauces and the pasta probably came from there a hundred years ago so we’ll go with that. And none of this nouvelle cuisine serving stuff – when we get a plate of dinner we want more dinner than plate on the table. Oozing over the edge is not considered a flaw.

There will be red wine and it will be extremely cheap. Like $5 for a 2 litre cask. It’s time-expired Yalumba from the local bottle shop and if you drink it without letting it hit your taste buds it is fine. Actually it IS tasty, and the business of ” best by ” dates is a bit of a frandoogle when you are talking about basic blended goon. It is cheaper than drinking lacquer thinner or motor oil.

 

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Nice Cake…For Store Bought…

If ever there was damnation with faint praise…

But we cannot help it. Even if we are not bakers ourselves, we can always look askance at other’s cooking. And we do it for the best reasons – we do it to honour our mothers.

Every mother makes three memorable classes of food; the stuff that isn’t as good as that made by our mate’s mother – the stuff that we don’t like to eat – and the recipes that are the correct standard of the world.

It might be sauerkraut, it might be banana bread, it might be oatmeal with gravel…but whatever it is, there will be one dish that we remember our mother cooking that was the correct way to do it. All others are pale imitations, no matter how well done. And we resist any suggestion that we are biased.

Our wives do something that is correct, as well – or we might do it if we are the cooks of the house. Our children will remember this. The difficult part is when our wives do a version of what their mother did, which is a version of what our mother did…and the three dishes are remarkably different, even if the ingredients are the same. Three women cooking the same dish in three correct fashions whilst eyeing each other off over the sharp knives is a daunting prospect.

When they present you with three different tasting tablespoons ┬áto tell which is the right recipe…run.

 

 

My Eyes Are Up Here

I don’t mind you staring at my chest, but that’s not what this post is about. I’m a guy and my chest is not that good to look at.

Okay. I have a set of scales in my bathroom and it is probably a good thing for my health to use them every week. I should run between 75 Kg and 67 Kg for decent health…but there are times when I have no idea what my weight is – even though I am standing on the scales.

The problem is the readout on the scales is down there and my eyes are up here, and as I have spectacles for short-sightedness, I cannot see what the numbers are. The ideal time to weigh myself is when I am dry after a shower with no clothes on ( treasure that image… ) but my glasses are never there to let me see the numbers. When I step off the scales to peer down the display cuts off…

Please, Chinese appliance makers, make a set of scales that has a wireless link from the foot pad to a big LCD readout on a separate screen that I can mount up on the wall or the bathroom mirror at eye level. I’ll pay for it and cheerfully put two sets of AA batteries in the pad and the readout to let it operate. Heck, connect it with a wire, if that’s easier.

But until I get eyeballs in my knees, the daily weight will remain a mystery.

Lumpy Thighs

What odd creatures we are. We insist on seeing lumpy thighs on actors like Arnold Swartzenegger but reject them on Nicole Kidman. They are not dangerous to us, nor to their owners, but we insist on making a fuss.

Likewise many of the other bits of the body – and there are people who devote their entire lives to building up and breaking down the various muscles that puff up the external appearance of man or woman. If they succeed we laud them – if they do not we slate them. And yet none of their muscles are ever likely to affect us one way or the other.

The same doesn’t apply to actors’ or tycoons’ political opinions or endorsements. They can, indeed, make us unhappy when translated into election results or legislative efforts. We may be subject to them because of their notoriety. Even if we do not respect the famous, others do, and woe betide us if we are not with the program.

I am also starting to suspect actors’ role in sales promotions. World-wide fame is used to sell exercise machines that will soon be discarded on the verge for council collection. Likewise dietary supplements ( read by-products that cannot be sold by any other means…), golf balls, and religious affiliation. It may be just my skeptical nature, but has anyone stopped to consider that an actor’s stock in trade is simulation…and that is a very short distance from dissimulation.

The Sucker Man

You see a new hell every day – the hatch opens and the creatures slither out. Sometimes you get to see the demons at work, as well.

Today at 9:30 our local infernal manifestation occurred. No pentangle, no candles, no sulphurous smoke. In fact the truck that arrived was quite clean and had a sign from the Melville City Council on the side. The driver hopped out of it, grabbed a metal hook, and summoned Beelzebub.

The truck was fitted with a vacuum cleaner and a big tank of water – I assume it was a holy water – and the chap proceeded to wash down the storm water drains in our street. Then when the things were awash with political promises and other horrors he used a giant hose from the back of the truck to suck the drain dry. I can only assume that there is a market for the sorts of things that went into that hose – I just pry that it is not in the fast food industry.

Noise? I assume we were hearing doomed screams of tortured souls. And it went on for an hour as he did all the drains in the street. I was crossing myself, lighting incense and candles, and making holy signs all the while, and I’m not religious…

As compensation, we now have the cleanest drains in the city. Just in time for the autumn rains and the next load of gunk.

 

Suspicious Stains

Impelled by a recent comment on Facebook, I am going to have to make a confession. I have left suspicious stains on the moral fabric. The dry cleaner says he doesn’t care to put it through the machine and the Anglican Op Shop has refused to resell it. So I am stuck with it.

It would not be so bad if I had thought at the time to soak my morality on water. Or bleach. Or nitric acid. But it is too late – the telltale marks of depravity are there for all to see. The best I can do is draw around them with a Texta and pretend it is batik.

Of course I am not alone in this. There are several other people in here. The run around at night and bump into the coffee table. I wouldn’t mind so much if they would pay for some of the utility bills or at least remember to turn off the dryer. The pointers on the electricity meter box dials spin around like propellers on a Wright Cyclone bomber engine. Some days it looks like a suburban house and some days like the ” Memphis Belle “.

I do turn to the sacred texts when it all becomes too much. ” Bradshaw ” and ” The Almanach de Gotha ” are a great comfort late at night. My copy of the trigonometric tables for 1923 sits on the night stand. So do I, when the weather is warm.

 

 

 

The Proper Use Of The Nose

I always used to take my nose for granted until I started to think about it. Consider:

a. Most people in the ancient world did not know what their nose looked like. They were poor and could not afford mirrors of any kind. If they lived in dry places that did not even have pools of water to look into. The only thing they ever saw of the organ was a blob on either side of their eyesight when they looked cross-eyed. Short-nosed people probably missed out on that.

b. This did not stop them from picking the thing pretty efficiently. The finger has a self-guidance system for the nostril.

c. You just tried that, didn’t you?

d. The nose smells everything until it hits on something that is so pungent that it cancels all sensation for a period. This might be natural naphtha emissions, rotten fish, or one of the Trudeaus. Cold weather in Canada right now, so a lot of the citizens are safe, eh?

e. You can find out things with your nose, and not all of them need to be where the drains are up. You can locate flowers, fresh rain, and a new car.

f. You can express emotion with your nose – disapproval with a sniff, contempt with a raised nose, etc. Some people can imagine sexiness in a twitchy nose, but then if they are reduced to getting their rocks off with that they might as well look at armpits or boils.

g. Phoooarrrr….armpits…

h. You can poke your nose into other people’s business pretty effectively these days and if you are a multi-billionaire media controller you make it sound as if you are doing something of public value. After you’ve snuffled around long enough you can sell the information you get for more billions. Eventually you’ll go to jail, but the more billions you have the longer away this can be.

i. Fill out this internet form, play this game, tell me all your details. I ‘ll scratch my nose while you do.