Monday 23 November 2020

Crypto Beans

 I've heard the same rumour twice in the last few months, so to my mind it is now unassailable truth. When the nutritionists and canning experts were developing baked beans, they looked at the French cassoulet. That is a dish of beans, chicken, and white wine. The canning experts said that chicken was too expensive and changed it to pork, and that wine was too exotic for English/American tastes and changed it to tomatoes (equally wet, equally acidic). So apparently, before beans were just baked in a sweetened tomato sauce, they were baked with pork and fresh tomato.

In the same way that cryptozoologists look for animals that don't exist (dragons, bigfoot, monsters, etc.) I'm trying to develop a recipe for belly-pork with beans and tomatoes that probably never existed. It's going well so far, and in a hot pan you can turn pork fat, fresh plum tomatoes and stock into a very nice sauce. I'll publish my recipe when I finish tweaking it.

Richard "development kitchen" B

Tuesday 17 November 2020

Chairman of the Bored

 In the UK we're now in the middle of a second national lockdown. I called it "Lockdown Two: Electric Boogaloo", but one of my friends pointed out how similar that sounds to the chorus of an incredibly annoying 80's song "We're gonna rock down to Electric Avenue". So now, as well as having nothing to look forward to, no social interaction that isn't on a screen, no pubs and no restaurants, when I think about our situation I get an Eddie Grant song stuck in my head. The highlight of my week is now playing boardgames on the computer.

When the second lockdown was rumoured I thought that the correct thing to do was not to react. I thought that anything I did could reinforce panic, so I dutifully didn't go and stock up on tinned goods or toilet rolls. One of my friends learned better what we missed in the first lockdown. When he first heard the rumours about the second lockdown he went straight out and panic-bought a short haircut. I wish I'd had that level of foresight and decisiveness.

Richard "corona-combover" B

Tuesday 10 November 2020


 Over the years my mother has taken in quite a few rescue cats. I don't think she had ever wanted to, but my sister keeps trying to look after disadvantaged cats, and then leaving them at our mum's house.

The latest cat is big and fat, elderly, arthritic, and has a tumour on his lip and ear, he also bites occasionally and isn't well disciplined with the litter tray. He had been on a strict diet, but in recent weeks his stomach has distended and he was taken to the vet. He is suffering from progressive right heart failure and the vet offered to put him down straight away. However he didn't seem sick enough (in fact he seems positively happy when my mum's about) so a future appointment has been made to end his life and he's been brought home for a fortnight of palliative care. He's allowed to eat whatever he likes for his 28 last suppers, and he doesn't get punished if he makes a mess on the carpet. The luxury!

Richard "worst advent calendar ever" B

Thursday 5 November 2020

Your Powers are Weak, Old Man.

 I'm getting old. It's becoming clear that I need glasses to see things that are really close – probably death staring me in the face.

I had a long a tiring week last week, and on Friday at about 8:30 or so after finishing the meagre stock of beer that I had in the fridge, I just gave up with the day and went to bed. Luxurious though it was, it made a depressing contrast with how I used to be able to behave.

I remember one time with my best friend when we were both in peak (drinking) condition. Pubs closed at 11:00pm, as god intended, and we went back to his house and drank all the beer in the fridge. We were still thirsty so we went to the cellar and either drank or spilled all the champagne that was waiting for a special occasion. By the end of the night we had been reduced to drinking unwanted-gift-gin with summer-fruits-cordial. I felt like I might die, but I managed to get up and go to a wedding the next day.

Richard "lightweight" B