Ingratitude! thou marble-hearted fiend...

“Ingratitude is treason to mankind.” James Thomson

Saturday 1 January 2011

HNY, etc.

Despite the pestilence, some beautiful food has been cooked and eaten here over the Christmas period: pheasant with stuffing, roast potatoes and cranberry sauce; chicken, leek and ham pie with spiced red cabbage and watercress; beef hailing directly from a field behind the Dorset home of the parents of the lovely man; and an enormous almond and orange cake. There was also a bûche de nöel, which was easy and gorgeous and very moreish. Behold the blurry phone-camera goodness! (Feel free to make ooh and aah noises. I'll wait.)

It is gone. Would it be wrong to eat make another one? Now?

Why is it that swiss roll recipes (let's just call it a swiss roll, shall we? I'm not French or very affected) want you to separate six eggs, beat the whites and yolks separately and at some later stage, fold them back together again? I chose, cleverly some might say, to make the one recipe I found that began, "beat eggs for five minutes." I am nothing if not lazy. I deliberately choose recipes with a skewed effort to reward ratio. (Like the easiest ganache ever. Meringue mushrooms? Made in the microwave. Applause.)

(Lazy has a lot to recommend it, but I do envy this.)

In unrelated news, the boy dog (aka the devil dog) had been taking an unusual interest in my bedside tray of sickness paraphernalia, which I attributed to some cough syrup residue, but which turned out to be all about the box of wax earplugs he ate yesterday. He left behind bits of the box and the small enclosed instructional leaflet. (I guess he didn't need the latter; it doesn't tell you how to eat them.) In the past 24 hours, I've also had to wrestle from his steel-trap mouth a chicken bone, a humane mousetrap, a bin of used tissues and a tyre off a Lego combine harvester.

And on the subject of dogs, I also found myself, thick-headed with flu, discussing canine gynaecology with the (male) vet and his (male) veterinary student sidekick. I'm now super-well informed and can swab a dog vulva with the best of them*. Fun!

So just by the bye and to wrap up the flu talk, have you heard that, in addition the usual fever, chills, aches and snottiness, it can make you feel chronically crap and exhausted for three weeks, leave you with a sinus infection and lingering cough for another week (and counting) and then, to top it all off, make you bawl uncontrollably?

It's the darndest thing. About a week before Christmas, before I was aware of being ill, I accosted the lovely man with tales of my persistent weltschmerz* and wept and wept late into the night. (I should add that I was also premenstrual, thanks to my propensity to menstruate at the onset of birthdays, holidays and special occasions.*) A couple of days later, after we had both succumbed, we were watching what should have been perfect sickbed telly, which made us both burst into tears simultaneously and repeatedly, and there was one day when it was absolutely ridiculous, where every news bulletin and tv advert got one or both of us going. I'm not sure what was going on, but I feel it was related to the flu. I'd be very interested to know if this has happened to anyone else.

*Happy Christmas!


  1. I feel like that is me everyday. Commercials make me cry, Disney movies make me cry, it's embarrassing. But things that are supposed to make me cry, like The Notebook or such, don't?

  2. I googled ''The Notebook" but I'm not much wiser. Is it quite schmaltzy? I'm not weepy with schmaltz - it just doesn't work on me.
    I may bawl my freaking eyes out at a gig - David Byrne and Billy Bragg - but I was totally dry-eyed for Morrissey, even though he was my ultimate teenage idol.
    Anything to do with little old men and animals (old man has sick dog which may not get well) - a sure thing. Generally books are not as tearful as something visual, like a film.
    Also, this started when I was well into my thirties, if not forty. I was not weepy about external stuff as a youngster.
    It's a mystery!

  3. That naughty dog! Did the wax "pass" so to speak?

    The bûche de nöel looks and I am sure tasted superb. And the rest of your food made my mouth water. And despite the sickness...well done! When I am next in the kingdom (for Zara's wedding darling) I must be treated to the chicken, leek and ham pie with spiced red cabbage and watercress. I die!!!

    I tend to be weepy at odd things. The last was an AA Bronson photo of his dead partner Felix Partz who died of AIDS. Tough, disturbing image. But then I can cry watching The Golden Girls and especially songs from my youth get the tears flowing particularly songs by The Smiths and New Order.

    Happy New Year!