Monday, December 12, 2005

A Little Chef Hoki Laid Me Low, When I Should Have Been Doing Battle With A Langoustine

To those of you who sent kind wishes during my recent ailment, thank you for your concern. An unpleasant interlude, in which I was unable to eat, drink, or concentrate on the Scotsman crossword, has been curtailed, with no thanks to the National Health Service. My Polish doctor, Miss Walinka, was unaccountably absent during my recent discomfiture, and I was forced to rely on the ministrations of her assistant, Miss Spasski, a harsh woman, who would - I suspect - have forged a career in the Russian secret police if the Berlin wall had not fallen. She is an unforgiving woman, with the complexion, and manners, of a baked potato, and the empathy of an unseasoned bowl of borscht. When I told her that I had been unable to keep anything down for six days and had lost 48% of my already meagre bodyweight, she scoffed and informed me that the human body could go for three weeks without food, and that I should come back when I had something notable to report. Needless to say, I did not return, and cured myself by eating porridge (for the nutrients) and drinking fine malt whisky (for the germs).
To the kind correspondent who questioned my sanity, I can only report that mentally I am in reasonable shape, though I often have the urge to ape Mr Peter Finch in the film Network, by throwing open my windows and proclaiming that I am mad as hell, and unwilling to take it any more. This, I think, is a measure of sanity, though I have a feeling that my neighbours are beginning to disagree.
On the substantive point mentioned by my correspondent, it is true that hoki is, or are, a fish native to New Zealand, but the perilous state of the Scottish fishing industry means that it, or they, are part of the menu of the Little Chef chain of restaurants, whose claim to culinary excellence is not enhanced by their wipe-clean menus, or the fact that the waiting staff seem to have been recruited from the outer wings of Bedlam. The hoki, as far as I can see, has been selected for its texture (vaguely fishy) rather than its taste (like warm aluminium), and it remains a mark of national shame that these sandshoes of the sea are offered as sustenance in the laybys of our B-roads, while our Nephrops travel South to keep the gourmands of Paris in the fleshy luxury to which they have become accustomed.

1 comment:

Learson said...

If we were as clever as the Icelanders with regard to fisheries protection, you would have instead consumed a thick halibut steak to no ill effect. Thanks to fish-pedophiles from Spain, Portugal and elsewhere we are stuck with EU policy drawn from the hadal depths of bureaucratic ignorance.