A Little Bit of Me

Jottings and Writing, miscellanous misgivings

Eating with Arnold the Englishman


“Look about half of households in the country do not have a dining table. Many children have never had the experience of sitting around a table and eating, talking, and interacting with their families or those they live with. Which brings up the fact that some don’t even experience what a family is. No father, no mother, changing mothers and fathers, the list goes on. People eat when they feel like it. They find whatever is leftover in the fridge or freezer and then heat it up (if they can gather sufficient enthusiasm to do so, the microwave being second only to the fridge as a mechanical aid). Nothing in the fridge? – – then pop down to the supermarket. The street is as much their dining room as any room in the house. It also doubles as there social entertainment. Have you ever been to a supermarket on a public holiday? Literally crowded with people not actually buying things. Just hanging out. And when you live and eat alone, and since it is so difficult to cook for oneself alone, is a powerful stimulus to prepared-food industry.

To cook requires regular practice. That, and a brain. It requires both a routine and a discipline: a willingness to forego other activities for its sake. It means placing external and internal limitations on one’s options, which is precisely what modern man, in his egocentric search for complete free-floating freedom, is so reluctant to do. A man who wants to be entertained every moment of his waking life, and who is desolate without constant entertainment, is unlikely ever to be a good cook.”

He shifted his attention from the lecture to the thin, young assistant beside him. For one moment, it looked as though he was preaching to the converted. Then he saw that characteristic glaze in the eye, the slight head tilt, the perpetually slumped shoulders. He knew he was swimming with the enemy. Here was a product of the meat on a stick, mystery meat and fries, and double whammy with extra mao, generation. He wouldn’t know a bernaice from a hollandaise.

He had another attempt.

“It is more true to say that inside every thin man there is a fat man trying to get out than the other way round: for inside every human being, there is the one who wants to be entertained constantly, and to be able to indulge his appetites all the time. He is the inner child, the child of the sixties.”

He slipped the spatula under the perfectly formed omelette and gently folded it over the bed of slightly warmed and herbed mushrooms.


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