Tuesday, December 30, 2008

All Clawed Out (or begin as you mean to go on)

I have just had a rather hideous experience with a lobster. The only good thing about it is that it has given me the way in to putting up another post for to tell the truth I was sitting here facing the blank screen, as one does, and wondering what to tell you. That I have pigged out on chocolate, turkey, stuffing (home-made) and more chocolate, and acquired a brand new spare tyre, isn’t exactly cutting edge is it, dear reader? And cutting edge you deserve to have and shall have when I tell you about the lobster. Mr. Signs, may the grace of heaven shine upon his head, took it upon himself to venture into a branch of Lidl’s and, upon seeing frozen lobster going at a fiver a beast, purchased three of them for us and Son to get our teeth into post Christmas – just in case we got bored or something (I’m assuming here, for the workings of Mr. Signs’s mind and his not inconsiderable intelligence is a mystery to me when married with supermarket shopping). It took all day to defrost the poor bastards and we were pretty hungry by the time they had been boiled in the fish kettle. This only took five minutes as they were already cooked. I made my special pretend home-made mayonnaise (Hellmans, English mustard and loads of olive oil) and then we got to work with kitchen scissors, nut crackers and corn-on-the-cob holders. It was heavy work and lobster juice sprayed all over our clothes. The lobster kept staring at me while I tried to chew on the tough white insides I had prized from its shell and at the sight of all the coloured stuff and grey mush inside its head I gave up. Cat of Signs became completely feral and wouldn’t be shooed away from climbing on the table and getting stuck in. It was all so visceral and I feel like becoming a vegetarian. I’m just glad we didn’t save it up as a special treat for our Visitor who is due to arrive the day after tomorrow.

But now that I’ve begun with food I may as well continue. Here is a pome what I wrote a few Christmasses ago. Bear in mind that the narrator is a “supposed self”, so not me, though give me time and it may be. And it’s a bloke (don’t know why, it just is).

The twelve days

On the first day I’ll kill the bird,
wring its neck, pluck the feathers,
take the gizzards out and boil them up,
chop the liver, give it to the cats,
and the lucky heart – I’ll eat that
just in case.

On the second day I’ll stuff the bird
with sausage and mashed up chestnuts,
shove it under the skin of the breast.

On the third day I’ll cook the bird
with all the trimmings – bacon strips
and baby sausages, roast potatoes,
Brussels, peas and carrots, giblet gravy,
pull a cracker, wear the hat
to please myself.

On the fourth day I’ll have it cold
in slices with ham, tomato, salad cream.
Like it or lump it.

On the fifth day I’ll have it chopped
and thrown into a sauce of curry powder,
flour, tomato paste and water. I like it
the English way.

On the sixth day I’ll have it frittered
with the resurrected greens, fetch the
old spuds, pepper and salt, watch it
bubble and squeak.

On the seventh day I’ll give the old bird a rest.

On the eighth day I’ll have it sandwiched,
wrapped in foil, by the banks of a canal,
watch the boats and barges, see if I
can spot a water rat, I like
my own company.

On the ninth day I’ll boil the carcass,
let it simmer till the old house reeks of it,
a tribute to the bird who gave it up for me,
whose life I took if we’re to call a spade a spade,
which I like to do.

On the tenth day I’ll make the soup,
trim the leeks, cut them lengthways,
wash out all the grit, scrape the carrots,
peel the parsnips, finely shave the strings
from sticks of celery, chop the lot and
boil it in bird broth, eat it with hunks of
bread and salty butter.

On the eleventh day, the bird gone,
I’ll get the pudding, slice it up
and fry it with a scrap of bacon, feel it
stick to my sides, a bit of insulation
against the cold.

On the twelfth day I’ll get my gun.
Begin as you
mean to go on.


Kahless said...

Next christmas I will be looking for Signs cottage as your cooking sounds so scrumptious. Though I think I will scarper before day six and definately before the lobster!!!!

Anna MR said...

All good things come to those who wait, hurrah, and you most likely know by now I have been waiting and waiting and waiting, a few posts down. But you have made it well worth my while, sweet hostess with the mostest, and I thank you, and am looking forward to your cooking (in spite of the plots I've spied you hatch with certain people (and Horses) - don't think I haven't overheard the snicker-interrupted whispers about how to conceal ham as various vegetables).

trousers said...

I'm reading this on a (very) full stomach, so it's easier to be dispassionate - in the sense that it's easier to do one's food shopping rationally on a full stomach - rather than based on one's immediate desires and needs.

But still it's a veritable feast for the senses, such that your special pretend home-made mayonnaise sounds like the cat's pyjamas, it really does.

Thank goodness you didn't even mention liver, or my senses would be in overload or denial.

I still have to take my time with verse - and such is the case here - but the individual words are sumptious.

Reading the Signs said...

Kahless my dear, my cooking can be scrumptious and you would be welcome to join our not-so-humble repast. But don't think I cook like the narrator of the pome, will you? He's strictly unreconstructed 1960s.

esteemed Icemaiden, I have bought the cardboard, I mean vegemince specially so don't be worrying about the ham. Ground up lobster shell is good for all sorts of reconstruction, just saying.

dear Trousers, my entire pretend repertoire really is the cat's pyjamas. I ought to write a cookbook with all the pretend things that can be passed off as real. Like the ham that you cover with bits of sawdust and stuff to make it look like a reconstructed vegeroast thing, tee hee.

Re the verse: just remember that the narrator is quite bonkers and then you'll read it aright.

Kahless said...

in your post, I thought you had mispelt poem as pome. Now I am not sure as you have spelt pome again???

(Excuse my ignorance)

Reading the Signs said...

'tis a deliberate misspelling :-)

Anna MR said...

Oi! I heard what you done said to housut of trousers there, sees.

Mwah-mwah all the same. I am nothing if not forgiving, except maybe a polite dinner guest. Besides, I loved "the cat's pyjamas", so I'll forgive you both (housut? I think you're in on this ham-scam-scandal, too, you know).

Anna MR said...

Also, Happy New Year. ingbela - nothing to worry about, innit.


Kahless said...

Signs, Signs...

the new Dr Who is being announced tomorrow evening (Sat)....