There are days when I feel particularly like the grumpy old man that I fear I am rapidly evolving into. Dour grey November mornings don’t help much with this, even at the weekend when what lies ahead are a pleasant few days of relaxing with the Kickass Canada Girl, eating and drinking well, going for brisk – if damp – walks, and watching the TV coverage of the home nations being beaten to a pulp on the rugger field by the strapping demi-gods of the southern hemisphere.
At my previous school – with just such grim days in mind – they practiced a rather splendid custom. A former member of the teaching staff had left a bequest to the common room with particular instructions for its use. On one grey miserable Monday morning each November – to be chosen on the hoof by the common room secretary – the bequest would pay for Madiera and Bath Oliver biscuits to be served at the daily mid-morning staff meeting held in the school hall. The date was never revealed in advance so each year on one dank Monday morning at least there would be a pleasant surprise.
However, I digress…
My mood this morning was not ameliorated by my running up against one of those irritations that the InterWebNet provides as a counterbalance to the many benefits it extends. Let me be uncharacteristically direct:
I wished to make a risotto. This is something that I do frequently and at which I have acquired a certain skill. However, the last few times that I have done so I have been disappointed with the chicken stock that I have used.
Now – let’s get this straight. I have at the moment neither the time nor the inclination to make stock from scratch. I know that to do so would yield better results, but on this occasion I intended to use a store-bought product. It quickly occured to me that the InterWebNet might be able to assist me in tracking down a superior comestible, so I fired up the Girl’s iThing and Googled (which is clearly now a verb!) “best store-bought chicken stock”.
You can probably imagine the results. Eleventy-gazillion items all advising me that there is no conceivable alternative to doing the job the hard way – that I am somehow lacking as a man if I do not already have to hand a considerable quantity of chicken detritus and that if I think I stand even the remotest chance of making a decent stock with less than two days hard sweat and toil – then I had jolly well better think again!
It is at such times – when the doubtless worthy denizens of the InterWebNet take it upon themselves to decide that I actually needed an answer to a completely different question to the one that I had asked – that I begin to doubt the efficacy of the entire enterprise, and the unconnected world seems like an increasingly good idea after all.
See what I mean? Grumpy old man!
It was a very good risotto – even though I did not make the stock…