How to cook your potatoes for Christmas dinner? Here are some ways… The German Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche argued that a diet consisting predominantly of them “leads to the use of liquor”, which would be enough for some of us to stockpile them, just in case.
We like chicken. We love chicken. When we see a chicken preening its feathers, our mind quickly pops up an image of it defeathered and roasted to gleaming, succulent perfection. We see its breast removed, slit asunder, filled with something yummy, closed, wrapped up and baked.
It was one of those moments when you wake up and realise where you really are. On a soccer field, yes. But no crowd, no glaring stadium lights. Just a modest small-town soccer field on the edge of town, and it’s Sunday morning coming down on a boy’s wild imagination.
Why are restaurateurs in this country unable to find our own themes and names for things? Tapas is not African. Small portions aren’t either. And there is one truly glaring omission from this supposedly African menu: there is no red meat on the menu other than a tiny portion of bobotie. In Africa, land of the cow, the goat and the buffalo, there is no meat on a showcase African menu. This is like not having soy sauce on a Chinese menu, or omitting the spices in a curry. Come on, we’re Africans, we eat meat.
Peruse the annual awards lists of the last 10 years and you’ll find many examples of restaurants that were once just the place to get to, dahlings, their chefs’ names thrown about as if the Gods had come down to save our palates. Then they slip down the lists until, in a year or two, they drop out of the top 10 and are often never heard of again.
You can send me an attachment of a picture of a chocolate and a note saying “Jane has sent you a chocolate!” but in fact what Jane has sent me is a thumbnail picture of a chocolate which is as much use to me as an email promising me 30 million smackers.
Oldtime recipes are sometimes worth bringing back. An earlier generation dined out on prawns or shrimps Marie-Rose, a sauce that is ridiculously easy to stir up – literally – and has a wonderful tang beyond the suggestion of its simplicity. And it makes for a perfect Christmas dinner starter.
The chef came out before a particular course and explained, somewhat nervously, that the kingklip was to be served raw tonight. Riiiiiiight, we muttered, dubious, looking left and right as if wondering where the candid camera was.