Thursday, April 19, 2012

All in good bad taste

When I was a kid occasionally pots of Polish jam would appear in the fridge, which Dad would rather mystifyingly refer to as "radioactive jam"."What do you mean radioactive jam?" I would ask, causing Dad to expound further. "It glows in the dark, Timothy!"

He was referring, of course, to the Chernobyl incident, which as everyone knows destroyed the environment, killed wildlife, and caused quaint little pots of Polish jam to fluoresce in attractive colours. Dad was a health and safety inspector, so he should know.

Anyway, my point is, food is a rich source of memories and associations, sensations from times past and memories from other lands. One of the beauties of a family meal is everyone can reminiscence together about past environmental disasters, whether they be nuclear plant explosions, or toxic gas leaks, or poisoned streams, or GM contamination - there really is no end of past horrific events for mum, dad, and the kids to be horrified, appalled, and self-righteous about.

And there is no better way of enjoying these memories than re-creating the authentic foods of those environmental disasters in your own kitchen. The modern kitchen is marvellous; thanks to the many ingredients you have at your fingertips you have all you will want to be able to make these traditional food stuffs live again. Try this for starters:

Oil spill duck l'orange
This one is simple. Just use the same recipe for duck l'orange that you normally would, but before you do anything else, douse the duck liberally in petrol and let it marinate for a couple of hours. Then proceed with the recipe. Savour that extra richness in the sauce!

Atom Bombe Alaska
Okay, so while it's not technically possible yet to set off this classic dish with an Atom Bomb in your living room (though just think how spectacular that would be for a big family feast!) you can do just as well by using radioactive Polish jam, as mentioned above. Bombe Alaska is made by making classic Baked Alaska in the oven, and then flambeing the whole in a darkened room. Before you stick the Alaska in the oven, turn the lights down and splash several teaspoonfuls of radioactive Polish jam over the top. If you can't get any radioactive jam, you can prepare some for yourself by getting radioactive elements from the local hospital and stirring them into a pot of plum jam. Think how impressed the kids will be!

'Silent Stream' caviar
Let's face it, there are a whole host of wonderful fish dishes to try out there. The true gourmand could hardly walk by the classic whale sushi, or trawl-netted dolphin, but nothing can beat simple delicacies such as caviar - especially when it's come from a stream flavoured with the rich essence of DDT. Now you probably don't have any DDT around the house, but that's okay. Once you have the caviar, wash it lightly in water. Then all you have to do is saute it in a light bath of washing detergent or bleach. It should soak in pretty soon; serve lightly salted - on mother of pearl spoons to avoid tainting the taste of the caviar. Yum!


Basically, food is a wonderful way to reconnect with the basics of life - to go back to an earlier time, when man lived in harmony with a blighted, devastated, wasted, poisoned land, and when people in hairshirts marched around the city waving posters in all our faces. Fun for the whole family!

(Feel free to add your own recipes in comments)

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