Be of good cheer, misery loves company, most of America is having some pretty foul weather too. At least ours locally is only rain, which regrettably never seems to stop or hasn’t for about two weeks. So gardening in abeyance, the greenhouse is up to date, cleaned, furbished and all planted up for the summer. We have had lots of showings for the house and have had to keep it in an unnatural state of cleanliness. The dogs have been issues with slippers and spousal unit chained to the vacuum cleaner. (My tendinitis conveniently precludes me thankfully from operating said creature. I remain queen of the dishwasher and washing machine which only need button pushing!)
So, there is bugger all to do except crafts.
However, since the beginning of June all my clubs and organisations have their annual ‘pot lucks’. I have come to dread these fetishistic rituals of early pioneer life. Here in the North West, full of well meaning woolly liberals dutifully garbed with the regulation sandals and droopy skirts, the standard of cuisine is abysmal to put it kindly. I darkly suspect that the ‘luck’ has entered into the title from the fact that you are damned lucky if you escape without being poisoned! It ranges from sad glutinous rice so called salads with some lingering lonely frozen peas and carrots wandering about looking for company in a sea of chemical dressing to dangerous woggo rubbish (gratuitous inclusion just to get ‘her indoors’ going) such as quinoa improperly cooked with dubious unidentifiable veg from tropical countries and non too sanitary at that! Desserts that masquerade as ‘home made’, the artful bitches buy dime store crap, remove it from its tell tall ‘cheap tin tray’ (apologies to Masefield) and put it in a classy dish and attempt to pass it off as their own (excretion most likely!) You get the idea. The worst of the lot is that there are virtually no meat dishes, just a vast array of mucky looking vegetarian nonsense and nasty chemical desserts.
Anyway, I have been caught too many times over the years, chained to the bathroom etc etc and have developed detective skills to identify edible possibilities. First one tries to note who brings what. There are actually a few people left that can cook properly from scratch and significantly produce quality edible food on a regular basis. Next one eschews all dishes which have macerated the ingredients beyond identification. Avoid predressed salads with cheap dressings. (you can smell them!) Dessert identification requires one to leer from a low angle to observe and inspect the crust to detect machine crimp to the edges, one tries to approach the table when it is not crowded otherwise other guests think you have developed a sudden spinal disease! Then you have to judge the texture of the creamy toppings, real cow juice or chemical concoction? It is not the done thing to ram you finger in the pie and lick it, which would allay all doubt instantly, unfortunately! In order to make sure you do not starve in the land of plenty I take goody care to take a meat dish, plus it is essential to take your own wine in sufficient anaesthetic quantities to sterilise said food and maintain equanimity.
Rhetorically I’m damned if I know why I go to these things. Well actually I do, I’m an officer of most of these organisations and feel obliged to support such. All of the hostesses are really nice generous people of whom I am rather fond. Plus one has a good subject for endless subsequent bitches on rainy days like this! To be fair, spousal unit, who runs on his guts likes a good bitch about food too, he eats it all just to see how bad it is so has become my official taster, one day he’ll rue the position and fall to the ground writhing over the latest dish of eels! I am continually puzzled that well heeled people, in fact some of the best heeled people in the County are willing to produce such derisory cheap crap, none of them are short of a bob or two. You only have to look at their homes, cars and jewellery to see that they are not hard up and yet they appear to think it quite acceptable to produce something that cost no more than a couple of bucks, a total mystery to me.
I don’t actually remember ever going to a pot luck in the UK. If one was being entertained the host provide the food or contributions of cash ensure a caterer is employed. Have any of you ever been to this sort of bash? I did note some alarming cupcakes that I wouldn’t have touched with a bargepole at some of the Jubilee bashes that looked like they were iced with axle grease rather than butter cream! All I can say is if you have never had to endure this sort of thing squash it dead as and when some bright spark decides it as suitable for some community bash!