There is a local restaurant nearby that we eat at quite often. Living in a small place that underwent depopulation crisis in the nineties and also where I grew up, when a new venture that focuses on the pleasures in life opens, we must support it.
If I eat there during the day, I often order chicken and mushroom vol au vents. Yum! They are a main course with salad and chips.
Sometimes we eat there at night.A new evening menu appears.
For starters (appetisers) I often get chicken and mushroom bouchee. Rocket leaves. Dressing. No fries.
What’s the difference?? Time of day. Price. Name. Portion. Costs more to eat less.
I often whisper to my company, ‘I am getting the posh vol au vent even though it’s the same thing as during the day’ as if in a confessional box.
I thought a vol au vent was posh enough. Eighties posh, I know. A bouchee however…
This madness that I willingly engage in led me to thinking. My thoughts gathered, I have realised that yes, I love a newly named product. I love taking away the boring old title and giving it a bit of gloss. Words sell me everything.
A childhood lunch box filler for my peers and I was a strawberry jam sandwich. Cheap and cheerful, the Sugar and White Bread Police were still only babes in arms and we ate five a week.
It has meant that I fall in and out with jam. Overdosed in my youth.
However, how could I resist the following? Deluxe strawberry conserve!! what wonders! What joys! What a taste sensation this must indeed be!!
Buying Irish too. Two birds and all of that.
Notice it doesn’t even say ‘deluxe’ on front. I have added that fact myself. My own lurid imaginings. Sure, it has to be deluxe. Conserve don’t you know!! Toast with jam and butter, I mean conserve and butter is suddenly rocking my breakfast world again. It nearly tastes different to what I remember! The power of words.
The Celtic Tiger did mad stuff in Ireland. We were left with no money. One reason is because we suddenly had so much to spend our cash on. I won’t discuss the fall lightly as it was a drastic time for us and by no means the fault of the average man and woman, yet my memories of the Tiger largely include lunch.
Before 2003 I had never had:
- A panini
- A cappuccino
- A latte
- A skinny version of either of the last above
- An Americano. I then discovered that was coffee. So that probably doesn’t count. I had had coffee.
- Bottled water. Bottles that I bought and paid for myself and weren’t filled outta da tap
- A ciabatta
- Delivered pizza (I slightly lie. I had delivered pizza in New Jersey in 2001 on student visa. Not Ireland)
- Linguine anything
- Gourmet anything
- A cupcake
Basically the Tiger was of Italian origin and am I not delighted that he/she was?
A sandwich out suddenly became extremely exciting. We weren’t toasting anything anymore. We ate Melts. Who had plain old chicken? Cajun. Tikka. Infusions! Cheddar? Go away! Mozzarella please. Gouda. Brie.
My father still blesses himself if I order Brie. It will surely poison me.
I think he would be secretly delighted if it did. I don’t think he wants me to suffer. He just loves the taste of vindication. Almost as much as a Calvita cheese single. An eighties staple.
I now love a good Americano. Or a cappuccino. The more chocolate the better. Not too gone on the latte. Too milky. An espresso at the end of a meal? Excellent. I am a bit of an expert. Ristretto anyone?
I even have a reference from a Celtic Tiger job that tells of my barista qualifications.
I was a coffee hater in the jarred, water mixing with granules day. Now I adore a good old Americano.
The Celtic Tiger having been sadly culled, lime has killed our fancy coffee machine and time does not want me to press my own beans. I have blogged before about the Mammy lifebelt that is Azera. I now take my Americano instant! It is a costly coffee. It could be seven euros for a jar. I refuse to pay for it at this price (irresponsible adult!)and stock pile at sale price. Even at this it is too expensive. They have me hooked though. Pesky loveliness.
The word snobbishness doesn’t end there! I love a good compote. Spoon it into the porridge. Suddenly it is attractive.
I know it is just mashed up fruit. I still coo and caw happily however when I see compote announced smugly on a breakfast menu. The linguistics!
I recently was in a discussion with colleagues about the ideology of ‘pastafarianism’ (worth a google) and I was explaining how the believers wear colanders on their heads. Uproar ensued. Pastafarianism did not cause the controversy. No. It was my use of the word ‘colander’. Where did I think I was from?!!! In the Irish midlands of the eighties, we all called them just plain old strainers and they were never used for pasta-only spuds.
Twice a week I strain my penne, rigatoni or even my conchiglie with my blue colander. I won’t be told!
Don’t give me pieces or -God forbid- lumps of chocolate or parmesan. Shavings, if you will.
Shavings taste better.
No longer will sauce or gravy accompany my meat. I shall be having jus.
You might try to give me pancakes and syrup with my coffee. I will actually be eating crèpes with glaze whilst drinking nectar of roasted cocoa beans.
Charge me more for the privilege.
You may as well. I am the idiot who can be bought.
So squash my berries and call it compote. I will be thrilled.
Just one thing. I will not be fooled by pea puree and the like. The mashing of vegetables is for babies and large family dinners so don’t go offering me carrot and parsnip mash as a delicacy. I won’t be fooled. What’s that? Chop up my bacon and call them lardons you say? Oh yes please! Work away. I can take that.
Respect also to the humble curranty bun. You were (and are) a loved household guest. Raisin filled (Queen cake) or plain (fairy cake) or fancy (butterfly bun), you must feel very sidetracked by the naughties newcomer-the cupcake. These buttercream-mountain topped beauties are outside the box with their unnatural colours and ability to make tomato a flavour. Blueberries? I wouldn’t expect less. Another newbie on our streets and waistlines.
You are welcome cupcake. There is a room for you all in our home.
Maybe not our hearts though…
Names and words have such power as to make and break my day! Porridge and jam?? Bleurhh. Creamed oats and berry compote? Of course!!