Saturday, October 18, 2008

Cookery? It's a piece of cake

WE ARE informed by a multi-million pound quango called the Potato Council that four out of 10 young adults can’t cook a baked potato. That’s the notoriously difficult task of rolling a large potato in oil and salt and then baking it for 90 minutes in a hot oven. Difficult, it ain’t.

Neither, it appears, can they cook shepherd’s pie or fish cakes. When we look at this lack of culinary skills, we should go straight back to our schools, where what was once called domestic science or home economics is now relegated to .. well … nothingness. Let’s face it – knocking out a quick Shepherd’s Pie is hardly onerous, but remains a life skill which will stand you in good stead for many years. Especially if gravy is provided. And you’ve got a hot date on the go.

It gets worse. Children in schools in Wales have been told that they can no longer enjoy the delights of Marmite or tomato ketchup with their school meals. Apparently both contain levels of salt which will turn your children into statues of Lot overnight. Meanwhile, elsewhere in the land of swarthy thieves and benefits claimants, even sugar has been banned. Kids at Tonypandy Community College in Rhondda, South Wales, are barred from putting sugar in their tea or coffee, on instruction of the Welsh Assembly.

I will only say this. Tell a teenager that they can’t have sugar in their coffee and before you know what’s happening, they’ll be shovelling it in there like no-one’s business. Diabetes levels will be going through the roof. Seventeen-year-olds will be bouncing off the ceiling like Christopher Biggins at a Lionel Blair reunion.

WHILE WE’RE on the subject of food, a reader writes taking me to task over my assertion, of many moons ago, that a proper English breakfast can’t include toast and fried bread.

The issue arose, if I remember correctly, when Coronation Street’s Roy Cropper, of the famous Roy’s Rolls cafe, served up such an abundance of bread products on the same plate. And, to compound his failure, some mushrooms were noticeably absent from his fry-up offering.

My man writes: “As any connoisseur of English breakfasts will know, the fried bread is there to soak up the tomato juices, whereas one round of the obligatory two rounds of toast lives under the egg or eggs (fried on one side with runny yolks, obviously, none of that American ‘over easy’ nonsense).

“The other round is used to mop the plate once all other comestibles have been dispatched, but before the mug or pot of tea is finished. Of course, both rounds of toast must be copiously coated with large quantities of butter and, ideally, everything except the toast and tea (and possibly the tomatoes) should have been fried in well-used lard, or beef dripping.”

Well, I’m not sure about this. I think there’s a slight problem of physics there. Can a round of fried bread, already loaded with oil or fat, retain the capability to soak up watery tomato juice? I think not. It just won’t mix. Opposites repel.

It makes far more sense to use the toast, in particular the unbuttered underside, to perform soaking duties. Perhaps we need a scientist to clarify the situation.

MUCH IS made of the way so-called England fans booed a player called Ashley Cole after he gave the ball away and set up a goal for the opposition at Wembley last week. The nation’s football writers seem confused: either this is a vile calumny against an honest professional, or a deserved rant against a man who represents all that is wrong with the modern game.

Mr Cole, it should be remembered, is the chap who said in his autobiography (incidentally one of the worst-selling sports books of recent years) that he nearly drove off the road and crashed his car on learning that his employers were only prepared to offer him the pittance of £55,000 a week – yes, a week - on his new contract.

I suspect that when the England fans booed Mr Cole, they weren’t just booing a player who’d played a crap ball cross his own box, they were booing a player who they seriously disliked, and that to whom any opportunity to give a verbal kicking was good enough.

THE REAL problem of the current banking crisis is not that all our savings in Iceland’s Christmas club have gone all Ashley Cole; it’s that the capitulation of the Royal Bank of Scotland and HBOS, the twin pillars of the Scottish economy, have had to be bailed out by the English parliament. This means that the Porridge Wogs have suffered a devastating blow to any notion that they might once stand alone “and be a nation again” as the song goes.

I take no pleasure in this. As far as I’m concerned, the quicker we cut them loose and let them drift off into the North Sea the better. Unfortunately, even the most rabid claymore-wielding Jock now knows which side his shortbread is buttered. Expect a dignified silence while they come to terms with the uncomfortable truth.

WE COME quickly to three loony toons of the Nanny State. In Bromsgrove, a man has been banned from fencing in his allotment with barbed wire in case he injures a passing thief. In Penzance, Cornwall, a gardener was hauled before the courts for having the temerity to have an old-fashioned scythe in his van. Meanwhile in Hackney, London, a market stall holder was fined £5,000 for selling fruit and veg in pounds and ounces even though the EU has long admitted that it isn’t remotely interested in imposing a ban on imperial measures. So under which law has she been fined?


Anonymous David Davis said...

Barry, I refer you to my post of yesterday on

where I dissect the current and recent attacks on (in particular) stallholders, over the use of imperial measures. There is no "Law" involved at all, as you rightly point out. It is purely an ideological assault on English culture, history and civilisation by people - mostly British themselves - who hate us and what we stand for and have done, and could still do. It is we who have always shown the rest of the world The Door Out Of Hell, and directed them to it. ew cannot and must not be forgiven, and exemplary puishments will be visited on us, starting with the weakest and least-well-resourced among us.

9:54 AM  
Anonymous Arthur Mallory said...

'English' culture - do me a favour - Imperial measures are based on the avoirdupois (Old French aveir de peis / goods of weight) system.
It's short-measure, thumb on the scales, overcharging etc. that's the real sand in the vaseline matey. Are you the football David Davis?

3:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Get it right up you Bazza - English poof!

12:33 AM  
Anonymous Al said...

On the subject of the Nanny State, our local council has employed a team of people to go around the borough knocking on doors and asking if anyone in the house smokes. If the answer is yes they demand to speak to the smoker(s) who they subject to a lengthy lecture on the evils of smoking before giving them various leaflets on how to quit the habit. It's difficult to get rid of them until the smoker agrees to give up smoking and signs up to a "help" group.

Now, I'm a non-smoker and I don't like living in other people's smoke, but I thought the total ban in public indoor areas went too far anyway. Bullying people for smoking in their own homes is really over the top.

The really worrying thing is that this is all part of a "divide and conquer" programme of bullying, sponsored by the state but encouraged by the tabloid press. The gullible masses have already been turned against smokers, drinkers, 4x4 drivers, single mums. If you don't fall into one of thee categories don't get too comfortable, your turn will come.

PS - my local council is Tory-controlled, so this isn't even a looney left thing.

5:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I was not a Jew.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.

8:28 AM  
Anonymous Chris said...

That oaf-ish twat Alex Salmond has also asked the UK Government for more money... hang on, don't you want independence or what?

The sooner both Assemblies and Parliament are disbanded the better - neither NI, Wales nor Scotland have the gumption to "go it alone" especially when the respective members expect a salary in league with the MPs.

Wankers (and wankettes).

6:17 AM  
Anonymous ade said...


As the gentleman who was concerned at your breakfast error, so many moons ago, I have to point out that.... you know what, you might be right about that fried bread.

Although it will definitely absorb some tomato-related moisture - changing from a crispy golden slice to a strangely mushy orangey concoction - I am not sure how much.

Therefore - and as it has been far too long since I made myself a proper heart-attack-breakfast - I resolve to undertake the arduous and intensive research required to answer the Fried Bread Tomato Juice question for once and for all.

Assuming I survive, which seems unlikely, I will report back next week. Tally ho!

11:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's me hanging on your every word of wit and wisdom, and you have to go and talk of ketchup with an English breakfast. Have the home fires of Hell scorched you friggin' soles?

It's HP or nothing.

5:03 AM  
Blogger Roger said...

Leave us Scots alone.Our oil is keeping the likes of you in champers.The quicker we`re off the better and you lot will sink with your pound...we`re going EURO.

8:05 AM  
Anonymous Edward, Hammer of the Scots said...

Don't be so fucking stupid Roger ya bug-eyed beetle-browed tartan throwback. You can shove the Euro where the Sun doesn't shine, oh and whilst were at it, I suggest JockLand and all the whinging FRIS's (fucking revolting idle scotch pigs), should be towed out into the North Atlantic and nuked till if fucking glows. C**ts

4:00 AM  

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