Saturday, 22 December 2012

The road flows like a river

Which at the moment, in the UK, is not a metaphor. On the way home today we passed two canoeists and a frigate. Still, I am now warmly ensconced in the jolly old bosom of the family home, replete with Christmas tree that is, quite frankly, ridiculous.

I shall try to give some idea of its magnitude. In Little Shop of Horrors, Audrey II starts tiny and grows until he takes up an entire corner of the room.

The Christmas tree from which I am cowering would eat Audrey II and still have room for Audrey III. I'm stunned there are still presents under the tree. Perhaps the tree is only carnivorous. Perhaps it is cannibalistic. I fear discovering it making its insidious, arboreal way into my room in the dead of night, departing silently and leaving only a pile of needles that are incredibly hard to pick up.

So: yesterday I finished off the last of the food in my fridge, and knocked together a carbonara. The recipe is quite simple; 25g parmesan, 25g pecorino, 2 eggs and 1 egg yolk all combined with a very decent helping of pepper. Like seriously decent, it's called carbonara, so let's see plenty of black pepper in there. You can use the egg white to make almost any cocktail better, binding the ingredients and giving a thicker, creamer finish and a lovely foam. Start cooking some pasta, up to you how much and what kind. While that's happening, fry off about 75g of bacon - I use lardons, because they have some nice fatty bits that render down really well - with a glove of garlic. Get rid of the garlic with a slotted spoon. Mix the egg-cheese-pepper mixture together gently. Drain the pasta, chuck it over the bacon, get it coated in grease, and then throw on mixture. Stir it around, coating the pasta in that tasty goodness. Chuck it all in a dish. Eat it. Crush your enemies. Don't forget to wash up.

Now, I had no garlic. Most people would ask their neighbours for some garlic, or possibly just miss it out.

I doused my lardons in Zubrowka, a Polish bison-grass vodka, and then set it on fire.

It was awesome.

If you flambé in wine, you get a reddy-orange flame, which is awesome. Vodka, by comparison, burns blue - bright blue - with a yellow edge. It gives one a massive rush, especially if one realises far too late that one has left the damnable spoon in the ban and consequently set fire to that as well. Puffs out very easily, though, so no problems. It also gives the bacon a lovely, light, almost woody, almost citrussy taste and goes incredibly well with everything else in the mix. Highly recommend what I discovered by accident.

This morning, however, did not go so well. Having left all of my presents at the flat, I found myself queueing for the Eurostar behind the most nightmarish, upper-class twit-of-the-year couple in the world. Oh, how they nattered in nasal towns about if he knew "Biffy" Jones who's a Westminster man, and if she knows Sheikh Al-Banier because he played cricket with him at Eton, don't you know, and before very long the temptation to unhinge my jaw and attempt to swallow them like a snake.

Bizarrely, it got worse, when they started talking about their internships. He is at the Assemblée Générale, because "Uncle David at the Ministry had a little word, you know" and she's at Vogue, because "Mummy knows the editor or something." Both agreed, however, that absolutely nobody gets a job through the normal methods.

To every entitled twatting toff who's ever got an internship or a job through family ties, not because they're qualified, but because Uncle David is at the Ministry or Mummy knows the editor or because your grandmother is the Queen - don't trumpet it. Especially not in France, because there is a long history of revolutions here against upper-class twits.

Still; it's easy to take a step back and laugh at them. Their lives sounded utterly dull, and their chatter as inane as its contents. I've learnt this year, in just three months, that it's really an excellent idea to take a step back when one's instinct is to explode. Or swallow people with your dislocated jaw.

On the other hand, when it comes to the NRA, just feel free to get absolutely furious.

I cannot, I can not believe that there are still people who think that making more guns available is a suitable strategy, that armed guards in schools is not madness, and that a press conference in which you announce such a bizarre position but refuse to take questions is going to do any good at all.

It's the start of a new era, people. The Mayans were right. We just read it wrong.