man bites dog

no puppies or bald ginger men were harmed in the making of this blog post…

you may well be familiar with this journalistic aphorism, which states that ‘dog bites man’ is not news, whereas ‘man bites dog’ is.

so the hot news here today is that ‘boozer buys booze’. just buying, mind you.

I had somehow reached 4pm without addressing the question of what to feed the people who live in my house. all the usual parameters of time, varying child pickups and other commitments had to be taken into account, as well as what I had in the fridge, what I felt like eating and what I could be bothered to cook. a huge Venn diagram of possibilities. and what fell into the intersection was a Friday night standby: gammon, boiled potatoes and carrots, and (the clincher) parsley sauce.

this is almost as basic as roast chicken. chuck a gammon joint into a pan with water, celery, carrot, an onion studded with cloves, bayleaves and peppercorns and boil for say an hour and a half. then, as it is all too quick and easy, I make a white sauce (plenty of salt and pepper) with vast quantities of chopped parsley added at the end.

at which point I remember that making parsley sauce is actually rather a faff but because it reminds me of my grandmother I decide that I don’t mind.Β and because the sight of a 2 pint jug of parsley sauce on the table makes my children rise up and call me blessed. and I quite like that, occasionally. (in addition the sweet, salty stock makes a great tomato and red lentil soup the next day. double yum.)

but the gremlin in this particular works was that as well as the cold water in which you place the gammon joint, I always used to add a small bottle of cider. at which point, when I am in the shop, I realise that I haven’t actually bought alcohol for over six months. whoa there Silver. am I actually going to go to the alcohol aisle and hunt through the shelves? am I really ready for this? should I just use apple juice instead? and it wasn’t the cooking with alcohol that gave me pause. in this particular recipe all alcohol will be heading towards my kitchen ceiling. and I have thrown a slosh of sherry or the end of a bottle of wine into dishes with no thought whatsoever.

no. it was the buying of it. in particular in that shop. my local little butcher/supermarket where no-one ever commented on me buying one bottle of wine EVERY week night. unless I’d already bought one elsewhere. or I’d decided to go to a different shop because I couldn’t face them again to buy just a bottle of wine. ack.

and the hell with it. I walked past familiar wine labels. though my favourite NZ sauvignon has changed label colour… golly. who knew…. and I bought a 500ml bottle of cider. it was fine.

buying it didn’t make me want to drink it. that was ok. I never drank cider anyway. no, it was just the foray into enemy territory. where I had havered so many times in the past, caved in on so many occasions. but in that territory it no longer felt like a place where I belonged. like Stephen Fry’s character in Peter’s Friends, saying “he wasn’t in the vagina business”...just not for me.

and really, if you had told me a week before I gave up alcohol that six months later I would have been struck silly by the weirdness of buying some alcohol, I would never have believed you. but it is true.

so. people are capable of vast change…Β ex-boozer buys booze… woman cooks dinner. you heard it here first. πŸ™‚