Breath in, breathe out and relax. It’s all going to be fine. You’ve found the Universal Rules for Guaranteed Good Cooking.
Your culinary troubles are over. All you need for gustatory nirvana is to follow these few simple steps exactly.
No need to sweat through Jamie, cower before Delia or moan over Nigella. Cookbooks begone! All you need is here.
Padmini this is for you. Men wave goodbye to kitchen anxiety. Women flex your spatulas. And let’s go…
The 20 Universal Rules for Guaranteed Good Cooking
1. Choose a bottle of red wine.. Not a carton. Not a box. Not a plastic bottle from a plane. A proper long-necked bottle.
2. Open it. Sniff it. Pause in anticipation.
3. Slowly pour it – savouring that obble-gobble obble-gobble sound. That sound is the spiritual fanfare of the kitchen.
4. Choose your music and press play. [Inappropriate music: The Pogues*, anything about prisons*, anything rubbish.] [Appropriate music: When the night feels my song – Bedouin Soundclash, Moonshine – Jaqee (looking cool and sultry on the left there), Desaparacido – Manu Chao, upbeat reggae or ska.]
5. Adjust the setting on your music player to a higher temperature. That’s better. By now you should have tasted your wine. (NB: Be sure to pour the wine before turning on the music, otherwise you may miss the soul-lifting obble-gobble obble-gobble.)
6. Stir yourself and dance (or at least sashay) round the kitchen. This is to be repeated frequently during the cooking process.
7. Take your measuring jug, scales and specially designed half teaspoon/teaspoon/half table spoon/table spoon device. Carefully hide these and any other oppressively exact tools in a cupboard out of sight. (NB: A glass doored cupboard will NOT do – unless the glass is opaque.)
8. Prepare your mushrooms. Rinse them. Peel them if it makes you feel good. Peel them slowly. Drink some wine. Then chop them and gently fry in three sauces – dark soy, teryaki and mirin. And the greatest of these is mirin Continue reading →
Now wait a minute. Don’t go pointing the finger in this direction. You’re the ones to blame. For bringing me back, that is.
Despite me disappearing deeper than the caves of Tora Bora, keeping quieter than the Count of Montecristo and remaining as inactive as your local political representative – you kept dropping by this blog. And some of you have been sneakily getting in touch by other means. Thank you.
But why today? Why now?
It’s the postman who’s really to blame. He just fits this Friday’s topic set by the Loose Bloggers Consortium – Wrong Fit.
It was like this. I came home today, stood at the front door, feeling slightly off balance as I delved for my key.
(No – don’t go jumping to conclusions. No drink had been taken.)
I opened the door and stepped over the pile of letters inside. I carried them in to the kitchen. They were mostly for the previous occupants who seem determined not to redirect their mail. (Odd, considering some of the stuff they’re getting in the post and how poorly sealed the envelopes. I’d definitely not want other people handling them if I were them.)
Oof – a nasty Franz Ferdinand kick to the head there!
I was a bit disappointed because I’d been expecting two CDs – Franz Ferdinand: Right Thoughts Right Words Right Action – and Belle and Sebastian: The Third Eye Centre (you may remember them from that film I backed.) I ordered the CDs to celebrate finally getting paid for some of the work I’d been cramming in. But still no sign of them.
Then I spotted one of those familiar red “Something For You” notes left by the postman.* The message said the item could not be delivered because it was too large to go through the letter box. It was the wrong fit. The postman had written on the paper slip: “Package under mat.”
I paused. Can that mean what I think – no, what I fear it means?
Package under mat. Under the mat at the front door? The mat that everyone stands on when entering the house?
I went back outside. Lifted the mat – the mat I’d just been shuffling about on as I hoked around for my key.
Remember the bit about feeling a little off balance? That was because of the package hidden underneath my feet. (I’d clearly be an easy booby trap target with my powers of observation.)
So the question is this: Why on earth would any adult think it was a good idea to conceal a breakable parcel where people will stand on it Continue reading →
I’ve been caught out and given a good telling off by Ramana in India of the Loose Bloggers Consortium for not talking properly about epitaphs. Which was a bit silly of me given that I’ve written a book called The Obituarist.
I also used to make an obituary programme for radio called Brief Lives. It wasn’t musty and dusty. Dead people need not be boring. I had happy days whizzing around London trying to find the late Idi Amin’s widow or a couple who had conceived their child to the music of the late Barry White. It was enormous fun.
The problem with writing my own epitaph is that, like Robert Emmet, I’m not yet ready to dictate it. I hope that this will get me off the hook and appease Ramana instead –
It’s a link to a radio programme called Art Saves Lives that I took part in at the weekend. (I’ve mentioned Art Saves Live before – visual art and unexpected drama off stage.) This show was broadcast on London art radio stationResonance FM 104.4 – but you can also find it here. I recommend listening to it all – though I pop up near the end at 48’30-ish in.
Don’t click on this because it’ll reveal where we’re going.
Will Knott wants to know my secrets. Nosy, isn’t he?
But given that a secret is – Something you only tell one person… at a time.
I suppose I can reveal this secret just to you.
Tomorrow I’m off to a place where Google Streetview does not function. It’s a place where, to paraphrase U2, the streets have no surface at all. In fact you’d need to be Jesus to cross to the shop opposite. Jaywalking is not banned – just laughed at.
You can slip your suggestions into this cute letterbox. Looks like C3PO’s postal cousin. But don’t click on the picture!
I remember being part of the pilot session… I was 15 at the time and to be honest all we wanted to do was to have our weekly table tennis competition.
The police turned up in two vans. There were at least 9 of them for that first session.Everyone seemed uneasy with their presence, looked more like a raid to be honest. They came with their plain clothes. The session was not how I imagined, Janette project manger for The crib had to stimulate the discussion because she could sense that none of us wanted to talk to the police. Eventually after a few games that broke the ice, we started discussing issues that affect us, this was our chance to get our voice heard and if anything would happen after this was yet to be seen. We spoke about police tactics, stop and search, profiling, stereotypes, legal rights, and the justice system. It was very interesting talking about all these things and seeing thing from a different perspective. It was all done in a respectful manner as everyone had equal say.
This was then followed by role reversal role playing between us and the police. An example of a scenario we had to do was that a group of young people were hanging around on the stairwell in block on the estate, a concerned resident calls the police to come and move them along because of the noise and what looks like fighting. So now we have the scenario, we now had to act as the police who turned up to deal with the situation, and the police were acting as the young people who were only play fighting with each other and having a laugh.
A Trading Places session – youth and police – pic from Emeka Egbuonu.
As the police officers we started off with the nice approach, but the police officers acting as young people did not go easy on us, they made it extremely difficult to resolve the situation. I think they have vast experience dealing with scurrilous youth because they were doing a good job. Eventually we had to use force and make them move along.
The second day was really interesting because the police now had to come in with their full uniform and the dynamics of the session changed. There was a sense of animosity between us and the police, even though it was with the same officers from the day before Continue reading →
Faces are here to be looked at. Even better – to be smiled at.
That might seem like stating the obvious, but so often people avoid face to face contact.
On public transport or in crowds people avert their eyes or look down. Anything but make eye contact.
(Oi cheeky! They’re not just trying to avoid making eye contact with me either. It’s everyone.)
When I was a boy in Belfast, catching the eye of a stranger was tantamount to challenging them to a fight. Ever been asked the question: “What are you lookin’ at?” It’s not a good start to a conversation Continue reading →
Kipling celebrated both in his poem If– “If you can keep your head when all about you / Are losing theirs…”
I tend not to panic. But maybe I should.
I sometimes wonder if there is a delicious sense of liberation to be discovered through panicking. Loosening up. Primal screaming. Abandoning yourself to YAH! Being drunk on unreason. Dancing crazily. Running and running without having to bother with direction. Bungee jumping away from your worries Continue reading →
Blackwatertown - the blog & the book - are by Paul Waters. (So is The Obituarist.) I present a podcast & radio show called We'd Like A Word with Stevyn Colgan. It's about books, authors, publishers, readers, editors, agents, illustrators, poets, script writers & lyricists. The podcast is at https://anchor.fm/wed-like-a-word or wherever you get your podcasts. And the website is www.wedlikeaword.com or on social media @wedlikeaword
I also make other radio, TV & podcasts. Leave a comment or email me at paulwaters99 at hotmail.com Thanks for reading. Paul