Friday 3 June 2016


A life covering a number of decades will have experienced/witnessed/adjusted to many changes in fashion and trends, or even fashionable trends if you like. Some are inspired. Some are useful and some are downright codswallop.

Take fish: why on earth would you serve it skin-side up? By the time you have turned it over you will have scattered all its accompaniments and splashed its sauce, should it have one, over everything else on the plate. Likewise, the tower. Meat or fish topped with potato topped with a field mushroom topped with two sprigs of broccoli. Often in the time taken to dismantle this the food is cool and/or too much for the horizontal space on the plate.  That is, of course, if you have been given an horizontal plate. What factor enhances solid food by serving it in a soup bowl? The knife slides up and down the slope.  There is not enough space on the flat part to do an efficient job of cutting up  and there is a sense of the Chef having, somehow, won in the battle of supremacy between her/his genius and your discernment. In the interests of civilisation, I do look around at eaters in a tower-building restaurant. Believe me: we all dismantle the nuisance edifice.  Even if you could cut through it, whose jaw is capable of accepting a four inch multi-  layered bite?
 What and why are twice-fried chips?  Anyway, what has happened to 'twice'?  Has it gone the way of 'thrice' because, only too often, I am hearing 'two times' whenever there is a 'twice one'. Years ago, there was a saying that standing by a 'bus stop, an Englishman would form an orderly queue of one. Graceless saying, in my view, but useful to describe the good manners which prevailed in some place in some forgotten era. I could green ink about manners for the rest of my days without being sure if the lack of them is a trend or fashion or just the idleness of a 'me first' collective unconscious. I have a dear friend, a musician, who threatens to compile a list of restaurants that don't play music. Whose idea was it that, without choice, (willy nilly, as it were), a diner is subject to whatever carry-on the manager dreams,or nightmares, up to make discourse between friends just a bit challenging? Dear Reader, I have just noticed one of the most pervasive trends of them all: the demise of the subjunctive. So let me rephrase that. "Whose idea was it that a diner be subject to whatever etc etc. Bore da

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