Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Poisoned food?

Self-satisfied, self-promoting, over-acting, and with too complicated recipes, television chefs put me off watching their cookery programmes.
            I'm sure (hope) that away from the kitchen, where cooks belong, these show-off performers are all delightful and modest people when at home and not in front of the cameras, and that the food and skills they display to their TV audience are of great use and entertainment.
            Recently, when scouring the various TV networks with my remote control in search of an interesting programme, I landed on a cooking one where sausages and offal in skins were boiled slowly in fine stock to make, firstly soup, and then a feast of the objects that had been boiled in it (just my kind of cooking).
            This seemed to me a good enough idea, and why not boil offally things that have made certain nations famous?
            I took the specialities of three countries for my test dish – Scotland, Spain and Ireland.
            The stock/soup was made of pressure-cooked bones, spices and chopped-up pigs’ trotters. This was strained into a bowl, and overnight became a thick jelly with a top layer of fat, which was discarded.
            Adding water and my international goodies, I intended to start heating up the dish when guests arrived for 6 o’clock drinks – but forgot to do it.
            When our friends had departed (drinks in our district mean come at 6 pm and leave by 7.30 pm - 8 pm), I started the dish that I should have put heat under earlier.
            Because we were hungry, I failed to give it enough time at a slow boil. The result was not as hot as it might have been.
            At two in the morning I rose when my body decided to rid itself of what seemed to be most of my insides. Had I poisoned myself, and with myself, Margreet?
            Still feeling rather unwell, I kept a worried eye on Margreet – who, to my relief, continued to sleep soundly and breathe steadily.
            Thinking that my digestive tracts were, by then, completely empty, I was surprised when the evacuation continued - from top and bottom.
            I then realised that it was not my cooking that was causing the internal turmoil, but the widespread norovirus, for which I understood there was no cure other than paracetamol and patience (period of tumult, day of bed, next day up and around).
            Even though innocent of cooking with noxious poisons in this case, I have been quite put off from trying the dish again.
            I will now be even more determined than ever not to watch cooking programmes on television.