Friday, 6 June 2008

Sudden Lobsters.

A couple of lobsters in the Anglican Wanderings kitchen.

When walking down the Bois De Boulogne, leading a lobster on a pink ribbon behind himself, Gerard De Nerval was asked what he was doing, walking a lobster rather than a more conventional pet. 'It does not bark', replied De Nerval, 'and it knows the secrets of the sea'. With this he walked off into the sunset of European great one liners.

Today has been a similarly enigmatic day for your scribe and also a day of surprising lobsters. I was (and at the time of writing, still am) looking after a young man with all sorts of problems (but hush, he sleeps) and so it was that passing a branch of McDonalds there was a sudden agitation from said young man, making his choice of luncheon venue clear. My entreaties for a trip to Cheetham Hill for curry or a kebab were ignored so McDonalds it was. Now, I have not had a meal from this place for years, because I do not like it, not for any food snob value - I happily will munch through a slab of foie gras, so can claim neither health or ethical supremacy. However I had forgotten the true horror of the food here, but never mind, determined not to be the sort of prat who observes someone eating then lunches elsewhere himself (with this ethic, I once munched my way through a plate of tripe in water in Scotland and a pickled heart elsewhere) I pressed on. Feeling regretful later I was progressing round Tesco, looking for ham, as I have to make sandwiches for four for the trip to Laydewell tomorrow, I found myself in the foreign territory of the frozen fish aisle looking for prawns. I gazed at the lobsters, thinking how much i would like a lobster thermidor for dinner, but realised that they were, at fifteen pounds, well out of my price range, Gunga Din. Imagine my joy when I saw that they had been discounted to one pound forty nine pence each! For a whole lobster. They had six left, so I now have six lobsters in my freezer, which probably doubles the value of the house! The next people who come for dinner will doubtless leave mumbling that I am a bit flash, as happened to a friend who used to own a design company in South Africa. One of his clients went bust and he happened to be a lobster retailer, so he paid his debt in lobsters, I am told some three hundred of them, so the smell of barbecued lobster hung over a street in Cape Town for some months afterwards, much to the jealousy and gossiping of the neighbours.

I am unsure if this works every time you visit McDonalds and I imagine not, but it has made today a happier day for both myself and the lobsters, for they will not have died in vain, but to be made into a thermidor, lucky, lucky lobster. By the way, I used to have a less reputable reputation and have hung out with a number of faded rock stars from the eighties. One of whom was being interviewed for Rolling Stone magazine some years ago when I was out for lunch with him. The magazine bod asked what he was eating and he said 'lobster 'fermidor, innit', trying to sound as though he had not been to Harrow (which he had). The bod then asked what that was and he looked at me, terrified, before saying 'well, it's lobsters wiv 'fermidors in it, innit?'. At this point I took a bite, the cheese stringing from lobster to mouth and my friend added trimphantly 'yeah, 'fermidors.....wiv cheese on top!'.