Monthly Archives: April 2011

Wedding Banquet

I feel as though I need to apologise for my rudeness about English cuisine. In actual fact, the whole gourmet food thing has caught on over here in a big way in the past couple of decades, and these days most of my friends here are able to name over six kinds of vegetable other than potatoes. It’s a transformation!

Most of the credit needs to go to the big supermarket chains, which started issuing free recipe cards awhile back, as a means of educating the masses and promoting the products that they were being forced to import from the Continent as part of the whole European Union deal. At my local Tesco’s this week, for example, in the town of Addlestone in Surrey, there were hardly any cards left, because everyone wants to cook food that is appropriate for the Royal Wedding celebrations.

From the picture, it appears that the thing to do is to get some Union Jack toothpicks and stick them in little pork pies:

Then for the main event, we are serving a revolting delicious-looking appetizer:

Spiced Prawn Tarts

Followed by

Whole Roast Leg of Lamb with a Minty Salsa Verde

And, to finish:

Berry Slump with Clotted Cream

Where are the vegetables, I hear you asking? Look closely, oh ye of little faith! For there is a cherry tomato and rocket (arugula) garnish with those prawns, which include some scallions and chopped avocado. The salsa verde has mint and parsley in it, and there are three different kinds of frozen berries in that slump. I make that nine different things containing vitamins in a single meal. So there.

Besides, people on this side of the Pond don’t have to worry about things like animal fat and starch, because they have a National Health Service. Duh!

And another thing. If you dress the kids up in prince or princess costumes tomorrow and take them to Pizza Express, they will give you all the dough balls they can eat. Oh Junior, I am so sorry that you are stuck in Tornado-land, just think of how much fun that would have been!

© Copyright 2011, Southern Dysfunction

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It’s Party Time!

The British, as a nation of functioning alcoholics, have very simple needs:

1. Good weather
2. A few days off
3. Cheap booze

These three things almost never coincide, but miracles do happen, and that is what is going on over here right now.

The weather is breaking historical records for this time of year. We have had day after day of cloudless perfection with no end in sight. My neighbour’s grandkids are visiting for the Easter holidays and you can tell that these children have literally never been exposed to sunshine before:

Secondly, between Jesus rising from the dead and Prince William marrying Kate Middleton, we have two back-to-back four day weekends, starting today. Let me say that another way. Good Friday is a day off. Easter Monday is a day off. Next Friday, the Wedding Day, is a day off. Our wise Queen has declared the following Monday to be National Alka Selzer Day, and yes, it too, is a day off. Trust me, no one is planning to go to work next Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. So the whole country is basically taking a ten-day party break.

In London this week, everyone was getting ready.

Over in the East End, even the local Pie and Mash Shop is in on the act, as demonstrated by my glamorous friend, the famous artist, Miss Mikey Cuddihey:

The supermarkets and the pubs are taking care of item number three:

This is a good illustration of why there has never been, and never will be, a revolution in the United Kingdom. I mean, the Prime Minister has been making some pretty big mistakes lately, and the economy is shot to pieces. But what the hell, who gives a f&%*? It’s party time!

© Copyright 2011, Southern Dysfunction

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Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?

Miss Pearl has been taking a Restorative Embalming class over at the School of Mortuary Science this semester and the students were all asked to choose a real person to base their project on. She chose her daddy, which I thought was kind of sweet.

Each week for the past couple of months, she has come over to the house and shown me pictures to illustrate her progress. First she made his ears:

I thought they looked pretty good. The next week, it was his nose. She admitted that this was more of a challenge, but I wasn’t especially concerned at this stage:

It was only in the weeks that followed that alarm bells started ringing. Especially seeing as how she assured me that her mom thought it was a pretty good likeness….

That’s when I started thinking back. All I really know about Miss Pearl is that she says her family comes from ‘California’. Big Daddy has always said that those people come from a different planet, but I thought it was just a euphemism. Then yesterday, she handed in her final project and my suspicions were confirmed:

Whoa! Ok, I figure I can cope with this situation. I mean, I have watched every series of Star Trek and am particularly fond of Deep Space Nine. Believe me, we have our own genuinely eccentric people in my family. And I am good with diversity. Junior has met them on a number of occasions and has never said a thing, but then again, he is very discreet.

So I am working on my alien salute. Nanu Nanu y’a’ll!

© Copyright 2011, Southern Dysfunction

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Calamity Jane

I am writing this in the bathtub, because the tornado alarms are going off and the weather is a bit frightening. But I thought I should report that I got some stick for that last post, especially from Junior, who told me that if I thought English food was bad, I needed to go to the local supermarket here and look at what Americans eat. He’s right, of course, and my intention was not to condemn English food so much as to poke a little fun at what my Publix supermarket thinks English people eat. To be fair, they have stock control people who must be on top of what gets ordered, which means that someone in Nashville is buying Bird’s instant custard powder and Bisto Gravy Granules. I figure there are a lot of down-at-heel musicians around town from places like Newcastle and Dundee, who are too young or too busy or too broke to cook from scratch, but homesick for the Mother Country, nevertheless. God bless you, one and all. If you get in touch, I will make you the real thing and that’s a promise.

Trusty and Reliable Crew

It was when my friend Roger got in touch though, that a chill went down my spine. He suggested that the customs officials at Heathrow might not let me back in on the grounds that I was undermining the Special Relationship. Hell, they can throw you into the Tower of London and chop off your head for lesser crimes. As I am heading back to London in a week, I am getting kind of worried about it. Besides, Roger is my trusty and reliable crew. I had better explain, and for those of you who have innocently wandered into this blog, well, brace yourselves.

I had a mid-life crisis about eight years ago and resigned from my  academic career. Junior, who was 14 at the time, found a Dutch Barge for sale on the internet and so, in a fit of madness, I sold my house in London, cashed in my chips, and moved onto the river Thames.

Owning a boat is like having a love affair, except that the boat is always the woman. And I say this as a self-confessed communist feminist kind of person. I admit it, I have been having an eight-year long relationship with my barge, Calamity Jane. And she is quite a lady:

Like all great love affairs, it is hard to stay away. It is also the time of year to get painting and scrubbing, so now that Mother and Big Daddy are doing alright, and Junior and Miss Pearl are around to look after things, I am heading back across the pond for awhile. There will be alot to blog about — I will be reporting from the Royal Wedding, of course, but seeing as how I am the only southern woman with a cowgirl barge in England, it tends to get just as interesting over there as it does here in Nashville. Besides, they don’t get tornadoes in England, and I am kind of a weenie.

© Copyright 2011, Southern Dysfunction

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