Avatar Birthdingtons lunch

Today I became 36.

Today I had the day off work, and we actually went out! We went out for lunch, do you remember that? I barely do. Being able to go out for lunch.

Well we had to drive all the way to Harrogate to do it because we fancied going to Wagamamas and that was the nearest one that was open, but it was almost, almost, like the before-times.

That, and all the waitresses were dressed as surgeons, and there were screens on the tables, but it was almost like the before-times.

Oh, and you had to pay by using your phone via a website because despite bringing us drinks and food for an hour or so, holding the card machine for us to beep would be just too risky, but it was kind of like the before-times.

Aaaand they only had a limited menu, because… reasons, but it was a bit like the before-times.

OK so it was nothing like the before times, but we had a child free lunch out in a nice restaurant with nice food and the weather was nice.

Today I had a nice day.

Avatar Episode 19: Kitchen Gadgets

In a podcast recorded at a point in time when we all clearly had pretty sore throats, we discuss the useless kitchen gadgets we all have in the back of that awkward corner cupboard.

The key points this month are:

  • Bacon
  • Nuts
  • Eggs
  • Kebabs
  • Eggs

Avatar A Tunnock’s tragedy

As you almost certainly know, last year I made the fatal error of joking to Ian that what I wanted for Christmas was a bucket of Tunnock’s Teacakes. For Christmas he got me a bucket of Tunnock’s Teacakes.

Despite eating a lot of Tunnock’s Teacakes – including, on more than one occasion, eating three of them as “breakfast dessert” – there were still some sitting in the bucket at the end of March.

At the end of March, of course, I was forced to abandon my usual residence on top of the exploding mattress emporium, and among the many belongings I left behind, I foolishly failed to cram a bucket of teacakes into my suitcase.

A couple of weeks ago my flatmate Steve “Stevey” Stevingtons was kind enough to fly overhead in a sort of psychedelic biplane and airdrop some of my belongings, including several t-shirts, a few bits of post that I would have been happy never to receive, and a bucket containing precisely five Tunnock’s Teacakes.

I ate one and I won’t be eating any more.

The passage of a further four months has caused them to deflate. Inside, the chocolate is now strange with white bits in it, and the marshmallow has turned sort of hard and chewy. The biscuit is virtually inedible.

The last four teacakes from that epic gift are now, as a result, in the bin. A sad end to a brilliant Christmas gift.

Avatar Random Sandwiches

Let us address the elephant in the room. You are so predictable. You are so absolutely boring when it comes to food and you know it; each and every time you wander into a supermarket, a corner shop, a Subway you purchase / order the same thing. They have a full menu of sandwich fillings and all of them are ignored so you can eat the same dull slice of nourishment.

You need to buck your ‘chude up, sunshine. You think your good lady wife is going to stay with you and your sluggish Ham ‘n’ Cheese forever? No way. Both of you are teetering on the edge of a marital precipice and the only way to tip it in the direction of the future is to fill your plate with something different. Grab your raincoat and follow me.

Nestled in the wonderful corner of the world that is somewhere nearby, Random Sandwiches offers a world of culinary perfection unseen in the rest of the country. Their list of fillings would blow your mind if you saw it in person and so everyone who wanders into the shop must wear a blindfold, and have it read to them by a woman with a posh voice.

The most popular flavours at the moment are as follows:

  • Jagged glass and American irony;
  • Rubber dingy, yeast and sun-bleached afternoons;
  • Heron and scotch egg;
  • Two lemons encased in a pagoda of dreams;
  • Swordfish eczema on naan bread, smothered in forgotten dances from the 1920’s’;
  • A fresh pair of stressed socks under a splodge of elk light bulbs and mayonnaise.

I don’t know about you but my mouth is already watering as I finished typing this. I can’t wait for them to re-open after the lockdown so I can grab a patronising handshake on rye and crisps for lunch.

Avatar Episode 17: Crisps

Cracking on through series 2 we go, and this ones a nice example of the casual ramblings that appear with an unscripted/unprepared/unorganised podcast about… stuff.

This episode we discuss:

  • Sweet Crisps
  • 50/50 Flavours
  • A Meal of Crisps
  • An endless lists of flavours

Avatar Jolly Good: everybody likes a Creme Egg

I said I’d bring you good news in these dark times and I jolly well will. The “jolly good” series continues with a tale of more free food.

It wasn’t a good easter for supermarkets and other food retailers. Near where I work, the food hall of a big department store remained open throughout the present mess, because it sold essential groceries, but as it wasn’t being visited by tourists and families any more, and as its customers were mainly just trying to buy food to help them survive, they didn’t sell all the chocolate they’d ordered in.

Now, if you go there, they are literally giving away chocolate at the exit, in an effort to shift it before it goes off.

Today, one of my colleagues headed out from work, explained that my department are all still working in central London, and that we’d be happy to help out with their problem. The food hall’s delighted manager couldn’t load him up with free chocolates fast enough.

We now have this.

The “this” in question is, at a rough estimate, more than 500 Cadbury’s Creme Eggs, plus a random assortment of whatever other Easter eggs and other things were lying around the storeroom.

I have eaten several Creme Eggs today, and I feel a bit sick. But in a good way.

Avatar Jolly Good: free gingerbread

In these trying times, we’re all hearing more than enough that worries, frightens or discombobulates us. To ease your worries, calm your nerves and recombobulate your addled mind, I’ve decided to make a regular habit of posting good news.

Here’s the first hit of happy headlines. Strap in.

I was in Greggs this morning to get some breakfast, having spent the night away from home. After I placed my order, the barista (being from London I assume the people behind the counter are baristas, like in Cafe Nero) asked me “do you like gingerbread?”

That’s not a difficult question. “I do”, I replied.

He put a gingerbread man in a little bag and put it on the counter with my order. “Here you go,” he said. “That’s free.”

When I asked about this gingerbread generosity, he explained that head office had – for no reason he could see – sent him about 200 extra gingerbread men and he’d never be able to sell them all. So he was just handing them out to anyone who wanted one.

Admittedly my free gingerbread man has distressingly fat legs, and has been given icing and smarties in a particularly slapdash way, almost as though the person adding his buttons had 200 of them to do and thought they might all end up in the bin, but all in all this is an absolute win. Hurrah!

Avatar The outer limits of burger

Big news in the world of culinary foods! Doctor Burger, senior lecturer in Burgerology at the University of Hamburg, has just published the results of a major new study into the phenomenon of burgertude, sometimes known as the “essence of burger”. His work has helped to map the outer limits of burgerosity.

Dr. Burger has now developed a linear scale on which beefy bundles can be objectively scored. A 99p McDonalds Saver Menu hamburger scores 3 on the burger scale, for example. A pub menu cheeseburger like this one scores a 6.

Salad (with burger and chips on the side)

What, then, is at the far end of the scale, the furthest extent to which it’s possible to push the concept of burgertude?

Dr. Burger would like to present you with his findings. Scoring an unprecedented 18.3 on the burger scale is this mammoth construction.

It contains two hash browns, a whole taco, multiple jalapeno chilis and a full litre of cheesy sauce. It is approximately one metre in height.

Having visited Dr. Burger’s laboratory, I was able to sample this grotesque meal, and I declare it delicious. Afterwards I was so thoroughly coated in grease and cheesy spicy sauce that I had to have a shower and burn my clothes.

I have no regrets.