Tag: food

Single Serving

One of the benefits of living on your own is that nobody is trying to force-feed you home-cooked meals every night. Sure, we don’t live as long as married men do, but that’s a good thing, right? Look around you. Of course it is.

There is a good chance I have been spending too much time on Facebook, because I would like to tell you about my supper. It is a three-course meal. I have lit the candle (a crude wick embedded in a block of Mr Zog’s Sex Wax) and set the table, which conveniently straightens out into a pair of legs once matters of a culinary nature have been concluded.

The starter is a 250g packet of nachos chips. On the front it says beno fido. This could mean it is for dogs. I care less. Any product that has the word “whateva” on its packaging deserves to come home with me. It dovetails nicely with the general state of dispassion in which I currently exist.

It is a starter that makes no demands. Eat me, don’t eat me. If a nacho could shrug and turn its mouth down, it would. I find it far more appealing than a starter that sits up on your plate all perky and pretentious, clamouring to be devoured. There is nothing worse than food that is anxious to please.

To accompany my starter, I have engaged the services of a sweet chilli dip. Since I have sold my books for beer money, I entertain myself by reading the ingredients.

My chips contain sulphur dioxide, silicone dioxide, oleoresins and unstipulated flavour enhancers, which could be anything from powdered donkey hooves to dried yak vomit. Yum yum. My dip contains anthrax, ayahuasca and cat bile. That’s what it looks like, anyway. The print is too small for the human eye.

The packaging on my nachos advised, in no uncertain terms, that I was to use immediately once opened. The instruction jarred with the mellow vibe the chips had going. I felt pressured. Emptying the dip into the packet, I stuffed handfuls into my mouth. It wasn’t a pretty sight, but when a man lives alone he quickly adopts the habits and mannerisms of a spotted hyena.

By the time my starter was finished, I couldn’t have felt any worse had I stuffed 250g of Point Road cocaine up my nose.

My main course is a tin of vegetable curry with chicken – the sort of wholesome meal wealthy white people would give to the staff, along with their enamel plates and tin mugs, on a Thursday afternoon. Ah, those were the days. Now it’s either something from Woolies or a strongly worded letter bomb from Cosatu.

Being an aficionado of heat and eat haute cuisine, I was taken by the photo on the label. This looked like a top of the log curry to me. I emptied it onto my plate and gently inserted it into the microwave. While waiting for radiation to do all the hard work, I perused the ingredients and was pleasantly surprised to find sodium metabisulphite, tocopherol and tumbled chicken breast. They don’t say where it tumbled from. The sky, I imagine, since that is where birds tend to congregate.

The vitamin activity in tocopherols was first identified in 1936 from a dietary fertility factor in rats. If there is anything rats know, it is how to eat well and fornicate like champions. I was in good hands.

They also promise 20% chicken. I don’t know if that means a fifth of the contents is chicken, or if the meaty bits are 20% chicken and 80% we’d-rather-not-say.

The consumer helpline failed to provide the number for an ambulance service. Not that I needed it. But it would have been nice to have just in case.

My main course looked nothing like it did on the label, but that’s probably because I forgot to make rice. It was an unforgivable oversight and one that forced me to pig out on dessert – a very tasty tipsy tart conjured up by a single phone call.



We All Have Assburger’s Syndrome

Birds aren’t the only creatures that make a yummy meal when deboned and compressed. Donkey, goat and buffalo are as delicious as any turducken.

Mmmm dongobuffillet. Donkey stuffed into a goat stuffed into a buffalo.

Serve with a glass of chilled Chardonnay, a bag of sticky marijuana and a private performance by three Ukrainian lesbians and you have the makings of a fabulous evening.

It involves pushing one animal inside the gastric passage of another. It’s called engastration. I’m talking about the food, here. What you do with the lesbians after the show is your business.

The French are particularly partial to this kind of thing. The Marquis de Sade, for instance, was a big fan of … no, wait. That’s different.

In his 1807 Almanach des Gourmands, gastronomist Grimod de La Reynière proudly presents his rôti sans pareil – a bustard stuffed with a turkey, a goose, a pheasant, a chicken, a duck, a guinea fowl, a teal, a woodcock, a partridge, a plover, a lapwing, a quail, a thrush, a lark, a bunting and a garden warbler. This was a man who clearly loved birds.

A vegan turducken, made with tofu and other meat substitutes like wheat gluten, is called a tofucken. True story. And because it’s a real word, we don’t need to fanny about with stars so as not to risk offending the lunatic fringe.

In my research, while I rarely bother with, I also came across an item traditionally served at Bedouin wedding feasts. Here’s the recipe. Cook eggs. Stuff eggs into fish. Cook the fish. Stuff the fish into cooked chickens. Stuff the cooked chickens into a roasted sheep. Stuff the roasted sheep into a camel. Cook the camel over a charcoal fire and season to taste.

Perhaps there is something wrong with me, but I am struggling to build up a decent head of outrage over the news that there is goat in our beef, donkey in our mutton and buffalo in our pork.

There are families in rural Somalia that celebrate for days after finding a locust. And I can’t imagine anyone in Sudan complaining about weevils in their annual cup of UN-sponsored rice. The weevils are the French contribution to the relief effort. And it’s no coincidence that the French invented complaining. I’m not sure where I am going with this, but I have a feeling that if I continue, it’s going to end badly.

The last thing I need is Francois Hollande diverting his fighter jets from Mali to my house. The neighbours already have a problem with me and I expect they would use an aerial bombardment as an excuse to get the body corporate to evict me.

So. Of 139 samples of meat, 68% tested positive for ingredients other than those declared on the packaging.

The study was done by the University of Stellenbosch, the same institution that educated the likes of Hendrik Verwoerd, Andries Treurnicht, Magnus Malan and Martin Welz. Big meat eaters, every one of them.

Everybody lies on their packaging. Everybody except me. I’m talking about you, here. People present themselves as packages and lie shamelessly while selling their bodies and brains to the highest bidder. Yes, we buy. Even though there are no guarantees.

There’s 12% buffalo in your boerewors? Please. That’s nothing. I’ve got 65% psychopath in my boyfriend. Really? You’re lucky. I have 72% slut in my girlfriend. And so it goes.

I tried to buy a flat screen television this week and quickly found myself bogged down in a quaqmire of lies and subterfuge, mainly on my part.

“Do you have a TV licence,” asked the shop-soiled assistant.

“Of course I do,” said I.

“Can I see it?”

“No, you can’t. Just give me the fucking thing. I have money.”

What a peculiar country. You can pay someone R250 to kill your wife, but a shop that is in all likelihood selling counterfeit goods cobbled together by seven-year-old Asian girls won’t take your R2 500 and give you a 32” Sinotec because they think you might be an undercover SABC licence inspector dressed as a homeless person.

I was also lied to on the packaging on a TV stand. Easy assembly, it said on the box. Easy if you were the engineer on the Sydney harbour bridge, maybe. Not so easy if you got 13% for technical drawing in matric.

Insert dowel into bottom? Really? Fifty shades of DIY. Cover nuts (B) with plastic caps (C). I covered my nuts and went drinking.

Let’s get back to the wildlife the producers have been feeding us. The shops are panicking. Meat is big business in this country.

You need a machete to get a braai pack on any given Saturday in rugby season. As you hack and chop your way through the seething mob, butcher’s assistants are standing by to collect the severed limbs, shrink wrap them and put them on the shelves as legs of lamb. This is the way it should be.

The butcheries don’t care. Have you seen the kind of people who buy their meat in butcheries instead of supermarkets? They love the smell of blood in the morning. Their eyes glaze over at the sound of circular saws tearing through the haunches of cloven-hoofed animals. That’s in Joburg. In Durban, even vegetarians go to butcheries in February. Not for the meat, for the air conditioning.

So how are the shops that cater to the BMW-driving, diamond-smuggling, coke-snorting, mineral-pilfering, tender-fiddling classes dealing with this crisis?

Woolworths was quick to saddle up its high horse. “Random checks, such as DNA testing, are conducted routinely on meat products,” they said snortily.

The forensic science laboratory is run by the police. They hope to have the results of the Verwoerd case by the end of the year. My money is on the tapeworm.

Here’s what I think should happen. Woolworths offers a one-stop forensic service – maybe in the cold meats section – and the police start selling ready-cooked meals. I don’t care what they are. Seagulls stuffed in honey badgers stuffed in zebras. If it comes with olives and feta, I’m in.

The undignified corporate scramble for the high ground continues.

Nestlé, billing itself as is the world’s leading nutrition, health and wellness company, dropped a Spanish supplier after certain products were found to contain horse meat. What a shame. I rather liked their Shetland-flavoured chocolate.

Shoprite also does DNA testing. On its meat, not its customers. Although you never know when they might be running a special. Buy a kilo of wors and make sure the brat is really yours. Whitey Basson is nothing if not an innovator.

Pick n Pay, too, claims to conduct spot DNA tests. But in their case it’s probably on the staff to make sure they aren’t white.

Bon appetit. Or, as my mother used to say, shut up and eat it.