Tuesday, 22 September 2015
Revenge is a dish best served cold, so they say. Fingers in pies, too many cooks, don’t bite the hand that feeds you; there are many food-related metaphors, proverbs and suchlike attaching to politics and public life just as much as to the actual kitchen whose heat you may or may not be able to adequately withstand. There’s also a lot of nonsense talked about both revenge and food. One Mr Edward Lear wrote a recipe for a dish he called Amblongus Pie:
Take 4 pounds (say 4 ½ pounds) of fresh Amblongusses, and put them in a small pipkin.
Cover them with water and boil them for 8 hours incessantly, after which add 2 pints of new milk, and proceed to boil for 4 hours more.
In my life I have never quite got around to swearing revenge. Swearing, by fuck, yes, but never committing myself to actual vengeful action. I remember to this day the chronic alcoholic boss who made my life hell, spread totally unfounded accusations about me among people who had never met me and engineered my sacking from what at the time was a very promising career. I came close to actual hate for that one but revenge? What would be the point? He’s almost certainly dead by now. (But if not, you know who you are, Malcolm)
When you have ascertained that the Amblongusses are quite soft, take them out and place them in a wide pan, taking care to shake them well previously. Grate some nutmeg over the surface, and cover them carefully with powdered gingerbread, curry-powder, and a sufficient quantity of Cayenne pepper.
I believe I’m a better man for not going down that road and for not letting unsavoury, malicious incidents, deliberate or otherwise mar my life by harbouring seething resent. After all, I may have misread the signs; I may have contributed, however unwittingly. I accept that. It’s called growing up. Maye the scions of privilege, or those of meteoric rise have never have to face the harsh realities of not getting what you want? Maybe Michael Ashcroft was motivated by a sense of entitlement so strong he felt that only what he hoped would be public humiliation would be sufficient pay-off for the perceived sleight.
Remove the pan into the next room, and place it on the floor. Bring it back again, and let it simmer for three-quarters of an hour. Shake the pan violently till all the Amblongusses have become a pale purple colour.
But life is not Game of Thrones. Those who plot to discredit others often end up looking churlish and damaged themselves and if Cameron can laugh off Pig Gate as youthful idiocy, put his hands up to naïve stupidity, admit to behaving just as thousands of other little rich kids have acted and then shrug and get on with business, Ashcroft will look like the snitch at public school; the friendless outsider to which status he may yet return. No, I don’t see the point of revenge; it can too easily backfire.
Revenge pie... serve oh, so cold!
Then, having prepared a paste, insert the whole carefully, adding at the same time a small pigeon, 2 slices of beef, 4 cauliflowers, and any number of oysters.
Watch patiently till the crust begins to rise, and add a pinch of salt from time to time.
Serve up in a clean dish, and throw the whole out of the window as fast as possible.