Friday, 14 April 2017
While Trump’s troops drop the mother of all bombs on ISIS caves in Afghanistan another bombshell lands closer to home. Yes, McVities have come out and declared that their chocolate biscuits, notably Hobnobs, are coated on... the bottom. You heard it right, Like a bizarre cold war spy code-phrase ‘the chocolate is not on top of the biscuit’. Cue readers’ letters, tea-light vigils and wildcat strikes in sympathy.
If that weren’t enough, in an audacious display of post-Brexit effrontery, foodie Jay Rayner dared to criticise Paris restaurant LeCinq in a scathing review. As somebody who is alarmed at the principle of paying an entire week’s shopping bill to eat faffy food, over-prepared by zealots and served by condescending mouth breathers in an atmosphere overwhelmed by a misplaced sense of occasion. I entirely agree that forking over €600 for a lunch you didn’t enjoy is truly ridiculous.
I haven’t enjoyed eating out ever since my last foray to the Ivy where I was astonished to see one fellow diner attempting to eat peas from his knife. So astonished was I that I almost dropped my handful of artisan mash. But for Jay it was a job and he is made of sterner stuff than I. But to judge from the reaction of the French it was as if opening shots has been fired in a new Napoleonic war: “Ze British only ondairstand feesh and cheeps and rice pooding! Zut, ‘ow do zey expect to appreciate our superior gastronomie?” they whined.
Jay, of course, shrugged off the reaction. After all he is the son of the formidable Claire Rayner and was raised in a household where issues were aired and problems discussed and solutions found by forthright discourse. A little know fact is that when they were quite young the Rayner children’s favourite story was Goldilocks and the Three Bear and much hilarity was had around the family’s kitchen table...
One sunny morning at Chez Rayner baby bear Jay came down, sat at the table and stared glumly into the empty bowl in front of his usual chair. “Who's been eating my porridge?” he demanded in a high pitched voice. His father Desmond – Daddy Bear – appeared, took his place and found his own bowl utterly unsullied by food. “Who's been eating my porridge?" he roared and struck his fist on the table. Mummy Bear, Claire, left the stove where she had been labouring, rolled her eyes, crossed her arms and stood between them at the head of the table.
Now listen up, bears...
“Now you listen here,” she said. Daddy Bear and Baby Bear shared a look; they were going to get one of Mummy Bear’s little talks. “It was Mummy Bear who woke everybody else in the house up. It was Mummy Bear who unloaded the dishwasher from last night and put everything away. It was Mummy Bear who went out into the cold early morning air to fetch the newspaper. It was Mummy Bear who set the table. It was Mummy Bear who fed the cat, filled the cat's water bowl and then let him out.” They waited for the inevitable conclusion to this little lecture. “And every day, I get this same farce from you two. Now listen up because I'm only going to say this one more time: I haven't made the fucking porridge yet!”