Devil is in the details
Over the past day or so I have been discussing the very fine virtues of "Bangers and Mash". Surely none can argue against the great virtues of this meal. It screams comfort food. Overloaded with carbohydrates and questionable sources of meat, one can oft reflect on happy days of youth and folly, where the simple meals were often the best.
But then the details start to come forth.
How do you prefer your mash? Super smooth with loads of cream? Slightly lumpy with extra salt and butter? What type of sausages? Thick or thin? Pork or beef? And then the clincher of them all..... onion gravy or tomato sauce?
Indeed, the simple meal begins to take on a whole new level of perplexity. And one simple meal has many different connotations for each person. Years of childhood memories are wrapped up in simple meals such as this. The first time I encountered this problem was many years ago, and the offending object was a rissole.
My betrothed and I were dining at his parents place for a lunchtime barbeque. Meals at their place involved a certain protocol; three courses were ALWAYS offered, more than one dead animal would be proffered and we weren't allowed to leave until coffee and port was served. So the barbeque began, and so began the courses of meat. There were fish "bites", chicken wings, pork spare ribs and all manner of meat preparation that was to be assembled in one location.
But then came the rissoles.
I LOVE my mother's rissoles. Even now as an adult, I request that she makes them for me when she visits. My mother came from a large and impoverished family, therefore, meat, being a relative luxury was rationed. Hence, rissoles in her family, and thus, in mine, were a combination of mince and rice, with other flavours (can't tell you, otherwise I would have to kill you!), doused in breadcrumbs and then fried. Even just describing it makes my mouth crave their succulent flavours!
So it was with glee that I leapt upon the rissoles, expecting the meat/rice goodness that made me a happy child, but only to find that these rissoles were composed of beef mince and grated carrot - and that was all! My first reaction was to spit the offending morsel out onto my plate, and gasp my horror to my fianceÃ©. Only to find him looking at me, face aglow, happy eating the exact same piece of food that I had just so recently expelled violently.
So, I found that he and I were at a cross-roads. Whose rissoles would he prefer in our connubial life together? Would he remain faithful to his dear mother, or pledge allegiance to his chosen one true love? Actually, neither. He would eat whatever was in front of him.
But it does serve as a warning. Do not take for granted the simplest of meals - these are where you can completely come undone.