Despite being a man of taste, one thing that I have never really been asked all that often to do is review food.
This may have been due to a suppressed memory of being a cub reporter on the Northern Echo and being sent to posh restaurant do, to give a write up to their Responsibly Sourced Squid and Seafood Smorgasbord.
Oh, if only the tons of jellied eels and slithering shoals of squid could have remained ‘suppressed’ that evening. I only just managed to prevent myself from regurgitating the lot into the finger buffet on the way out.
But anyway, I was invited to, of all things, a garden party at Buckingham Palace to write about the nation’s lack of culinary skills. This is a hot topic at the moment as there is now blind panic that we have a generation of folk watching cookery on T.V. as some sort of extreme sport, whilst dunking hunks of lard into anything that’s runnier than lard.
Getting there proved a story in itself when I broke down on the motorway and my vengeful car refused to move another inch until I could find upwards of a grand to replace a very small, but massively important part that had cracked in two. Annoyingly, I could probably repair myself if I had something to stick it back together with but I did not.
Trying not to cry about the pain I would be soon inflicting on my credit card, just in order to get home, I sidled into the garden party.
Chefs in various stages of nervous collapse hovered in the background pushing tiny plates of baffling items into my eager hands. Most were quite edible and after a couple of glasses of prosecco I was beginning to loosen up a little and think I had been a little too hard on all this posh food lark, when a lady who may have been a Baroness turned to address me and I tried to answer her.
Except I couldn’t, because my jaw was locked completely together by something that I was eating. All I could do was grin like an imbecile and try not to drool.
About ten minutes of feverish tooth chiselling in the bathroom and I managed to dislodge the ‘Veloute of Jellied Squab Pigeon’ from my back molar, which would never be quite the same again and was about to flush the damned thing down the toilet, when something stopped me.
I like to think I made a depressed chef, wondering why his Squab Pigeon wasn’t a bigger hit, a bit happier as I hoovered up his remaining six plates.
It proved the perfect solution to my broken car – getting me all the 400 miles back up to Tyneside without a shake, rattle or moan!