I was at my wit’s end recently. It was New Year’s Eve and we were – like many others, for the first time in decades, perhaps – out on the town… waiting like the hart pants after cooling stream to usher in the bacchanalian revels with a hip, hip and a merry howdy-do!
The wine was nicely chilled, the women elegantly dressed and there was a song in my heart and head… That I could not make up my mind which bite item to cast my vote for was the only cloud on the horizon; the beginning of a spot of bother that has lasted well into the first weeks of 2010…
On the one hand, there was sausage. On the other, caviar. The former was the same type of wiener I had forced down the old gullet because it had been (for some four years and more) the only thick-skinned variety of stuffed meat on offer. The latter was something new – at least, as a hors d’oeuvre; having been an entrée of sorts for some time before that until it was hors de combat. You can imagine my dilemma, dear fellow consumer of meat and/or fish, when – perchance after a glass or three too much of champers – the items of the first and second part began to look very much alike to mine jaded eye.
The caviar, for starters (if you will pardon the pun), was not of the mature type, you understand. From my prejudiced perspective it looked very much like an old sea-horse that had just returned from making war on some battle-weary catfish and was spoiling for a fight with its fellow beluga. To make matters worse, it was propped up on a bed of red scampi (the plural of scamps, I was told by a compatriot at the party – which, to my by-that-time reeling brain, was a tad unpatriotic). Worst of all, the poor fish was surrounded by a nonchalant cod that was looking a little green at the gills himself. Er, itself. Be that as it may, that caviar was not the contender one would generally expect at a ‘do’ of this nature.
That sausage, however, if one was willing to suspend one’s disbelief, made me feel I was on more familiar ground (although the world was by then spinning thanks to my imbibing too much bottled sunshine). In many ways, it was the least desirable finger food on which to venture a purple stain, if you get my meaning; but at least it had been in the comestibles category for long enough to warrant serious attention. Of course, its provenance was suspect: the silly sausage seemed to have botched its opportunity to become a nice bit of meat digestible by all, rather than by only those who like nepotistic pawkies and corrupt chipolatas.
What most made this particular sausage a bad egg, if you will excuse the mixed metaphor, were the brother sausages whose company it kept… liverwurst to whom life was not worth living without sponging off the state; bockwurst who often got confused between what was mine and thine, and acted unilaterally to secure whatever took its fancy; and bratwurst that tolerated dangerously puerile adults acting like spoilt brats.
Horns of dilemma
So, slightly-off sausage with a fierce pong or greenish caviar looking red in the face? Sorry state this party is in, methinks, now completely sober and lamenting the lacuna on the banquet board as the year turned. Oh, well… one will have to make-do by casting one’s ballot for the, um, bread of life. Small consolation, but this is still a democracy, isn’t it – and one does not have to eat anything and everything that is put on the table!
After that disastrous feast, though, I’ve made a few new-year resolutions. And for those of you who don’t know much about food, permit me to couch it in familiar terms:
One: Take sausage seriously! Even if it is a raw and rotten type that reminds one of the adage that it is better not to know how laws and sausages are made…
Two: Let caviar be for the general only… and the corporals of the red brigade (and by the way, green-eyed Colonel Sanders is living in a dream world if he thinks things will be finger-lickin’ good come a general poll after the General poll…)! Better the known bratwurst and bockwurst, than a seafood platter of tried scallops tired of politics, cuttlefish scuttled by a scuttled ship, and a lobster straight out of the dustbin of history…
Three: Cheer those punters who look ahead to a more balanced smorgasbord – say, when the executive chef’s sausages are seasoned by strong opposition from a House-minded maitre d’.
As for me and my house, we’re abstaining, for the nonce. Just this once, better a fast full of peace, than feasting in the tents of the wicked on food that one can never stomach.