Tuesday, November 03, 2009

An Spailpín's Irish Kitchen

RTÉ has started another cookery show last night – Catherine’s Italian Kitchen, a CSI Miami to Trish Deseine’s CSI: Crime Scene Investigation one supposes. And it's hard to blame the national broadcaster for looking across the seas.

After all, if one were to stay based in Ireland, once one had boiled the praties, where would one go next? You might get a Late Late Show appearance by getting the ladies to grow their thumbnails long, the better for peeling said praties, as was all the fashion back in the days when ladies wore shawls and smoked suitably raffish clay pipes on the cover of Irish Tatler magazine, but after that the pickings are slim.

Fine dining is wasted on An Spailpín, of course – the phraseology of the game is jarring to his sensitive ear. Medallions of pork, celebrations of Irish potatoes and sautéed onions. I knew those lads when they hadn’t an arse to their trousers.

Not all gourmands present the best advertisement for the pastime either. Mr Gerry Ryan remarked in his recent autobiography that he is a man who loves food. Gerry’s head looks like a bag of oats sitting on top of a fencepost. We don’t need to buy the book to be appraised of Gerry’s great regard for food. We can tell at a glance.

Strangely enough, although her work is as wasted on An Spailpín as coals brought to the great city of Newcastle, your stew-nourished correspondent has to confess great time for Trish Deseine. She seems a nice Irish girl doing well abroad, and good luck to her. We could all be at again soon enough.

It hasn’t been all cakes and ale for her either, trying to beat the French at their own game. She herself elaborated on this in an interview with Sky News that caught An Spailpín’s eye some months ago.

It seems that she put down the dinner for her in-laws one time only for her father-in-law to sneer that he found it très unusual to serve the trifle before the soup, or words to that effect. Poor Trish retreated to the kitchen in tears, having suffered something of a domestic Austerlitz.

An Spailpín admired her forbearance in not talking Papa by the lug and orating along the lines of “Listen here, you snail munching scut, you’ll ate what you get and like it. We spent enough time here starving in ditches during the Famine to be glad of the grub. Now clean that plate and then up to the window with you and tell me if you see any panzer tanks rolling down the Champs Elysees. I believe you were slow enough spotting them the last time out.”

We’d see what he made of ces oignons, by God.

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