Monday, 6 September 2010

Cookery Lessons

Barry Farrimond (Ed Grundy)

As if we don't get enough cookery programmes on TV, last week's Archers seemed obsessed with the subject. I suppose Emma's bun in the oven could be loosely grouped under this heading as we all contemplate yet another Grundy appearing on the scene.

Anyway, Emma's pregnancy led to what can only be described as "the great artichoke hunt" as Ed moved heaven and earth in his search for the elusive vegetable. "I'll find them somehow – I've got to" he said, as if he were a ‘copter pilot searching for climbers lost in the mountains. And find them he did – and just in time, as I was wondering whether the programme had been sponsored by the British Artichoke Growers Association. While on the subject, don't you think it odd that very few eyebrows were raised when Ed (the man who put the 'F' in sophistication) was asking all and sundry for artichokes? Perhaps people assumed that Ed thought it was some new kind of drug.

More cookery with Susan's Lamb and aubergine (what, not artichokes?) tagine or, as it turned out, vegetable lasagne. Susan, whose capacity for self-delusion has reached Himalayan proportions, said that the Carters and the Aldridges were "One big happy family and we should cement the bond between us." If Jennifer had her way, the bond would also include a bucket and an expanse of very deep water. Just how wide the gulf between them is was illustrated by their comments after the meal. Susan: "Tonight went really well". Jennifer: "Well, that was absolutely ghastly".

"I can't serve tasty and wholesome to the Aldriges" Susan told Neil, which is a novel approach to entertaining. When she did produce the lasagne (the tagine having been pronounced disgusting) and Neil said "It looks very nice", she replied "It's OK for people like you Neil". Oh yes, now the Aldridges are family, you just remember your place, my lad!

Brian was complimentary, saying: "I appreciate a well-cooked meal made from fresh ingredients". I bet Jennifer has noted that and filed it away for future reference when they next have an argument. Jennifer isn't happy, is she? Not only was there the meal at the Carter's, but she's fretting about what Chris will do when Alice goes back to uni. She's worried that she will have to cook and wash his clothes, but I reckon that she's such a control freak that she'll be following him around with food and picking up his dirty laundry before it has a chance to hit the floor.

There was also the post-wedding celebration party when Chris and Alice spent two nights in the Grey Gables Honeymoon Suite, courtesy of Alice's siblings. "It's out of this world" said Chris. Actually, it isn't even out of Ambridge, but it's the thought that counts.

Away from things domestic, we had Kathy and Pat talking about Jamie and Pat uttered the immortal line "grief's a funny thing…" That's why you see so many stand-up comics at funerals no doubt.

Tony is rapidly becoming the village expert on – well, on everything, really. First we had the mower/conditioner (which Ed popped over specially to have a look at, the saddo, taking valuable time off from the artichoke hunt). Then he (Tony) pontificated about the type of care and birth that Helen should have, tactfully pointing out that, as the conception wasn't natural, why not have a high-tech birth? Seconds later, he's coaching Jamie on his batting stance. God, the man knows everything – except where to find artichokes in August, of course.

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