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.