On being back to batchelorhood

No, this doesn\’t mean that I can chase the young ladies. Not that they look very interested nor that I am.

Rather, being back around the \’ore mountains \’untin slags, I am cooking for myself again. And no, I\’m not one of the world\’s great cooks. Nor do I really care all that much either.

\’S\’long as there\’s a few decent meals a week them much of it can be just fuel. Most unjayrayner.

And I sorta know how to do this in various different countries. Certainly in the UK I do. I can read the ingredients, work out the cooking instructions, know how to hang around the bargain bin for when that filet mignon gets sold off cheap.

I can do it in Italian, French, Portuguese, too. Not the great meals you understand, but the fuel that ain\’t bad. Heck, a little bit of practice and I\’ll be able to do it again in Russian.

Czech is a whole different cuisine. And the language is sufficiently different to Russian that it\’s, well, different. I spent the day travelling across Europe. I\’m having comfort food tonight.

Nothing at all fancy: some form of sausage (frankfurterish) with beans, bread and onion rings. I know, I know….but what the hell, all major food groups and there might well be a vitamin in there somewhere too.

Which is where this idea that in foreign is like the past comes in. They do things differently there.

I get the idea that you take the plastic packet off the frankfurters. But who knew that in some parts of the world you are supposed to peel the actual sausage itself as well? At least I assume you are for this second attempt does taste rather better. Still not \”good food\” but rather better comfort food without the plastic casing…..

20 thoughts on “On being back to batchelorhood”

  1. Who said there is no adventure left in the world.

    Tim, surviving against the odds amongst slags and ‘ores.

    Who can finish the rhyme?

    Beans, beans, good fot the heart
    Beans, beans….

  2. First to the table … crikey! what are these sausages encased in? Hunt out a steak knife to slice the casing that could have come from an airline inflatable safety slide – other diners arrive and calmly and skilfully skin said sausages whilst occasionally glancing in your direction and smiling…

  3. all major food groups

    I don’t know… I can see grease and sugar, but what about the caffeine and alcohol?

  4. Sausage beans onion rings and bread is a “different” cuisine?

    Well if your previous experience is eating foie gras to the sound of trumpets you may be right.

    Try going into a “hardware store” or a “supermarket” Tim. There you’ll find a gadget (subject to several hundred patents, mind you) called a “potato peeler”.

    Bon appetit

  5. Some years ago a distinguished colleague of mine got back from what you might very loosely call a ‘secondment’ to a foreign country of the type where there be dragons and where Royal Navy warships patrol off the coast just in case, and we had a binge to welcome him home. The time came for speeches. He got to his feet (no small task), and began, “Having spent the last xxx years in Bongoland, surviving on nothing but….[pause for effect] food and drink…”

    It was quite a good line, after a few snootfuls.

  6. Howay Man Timmy, you’re better off buying raw fresh food like taters, carrots, onions, chicken pieces, lamb steaks, bacon, because you can see what they are without having to read the labels. Same for bread, butter, milk, eggs and cheese. They still look just the same in foreign.

    Make a list for your next sortie. And right at the top, put a potato peeler, a bottle opener, and one small sharp kitchen knife. Then add your groceries.

    Cook the meat in some butter in a non-stick pan, with some onions, maybe when it’s fully cooked through, hoy some tomatoes and mushrooms in. Works for everything. Beef, lamb, chicken, liver, bacon….

    You can peel and cut some spuds, root veg, bit of a small cauli, and put them in a plastic jug with just 1/2 inch of boiling water in the bottom of the jug. Put a loose lid or saucer over the jug, microwave for 6 to 7 minutes. (Depending on how well done you like your veg.) Drain, add a knob of butter, and arrange on your plate with the meat.

    Eat food, open beer bottle, drink beer.

    One cooking ring, a kettle, and a microwave. And there’s hardly any washing up.

  7. Martin

    surely Czech cuisine contains an awful lot of beetroot and turnips, though. How can you get scurvy…although it gets difficult to find new ways of preparing beetroot and turnip

  8. Tim,

    There is a perfecly serviceable TFI Friday at the Vltava end of Wenceslas Square.

    If you can bring fruit, green veg and vinegar in with you, that would be a good idea. As you are from a naval background, you may or may not agree with my own experience of Czech cuisine as being the fast track to scurvy.

  9. Beetroot is really nice boiled, then peeled and roughly mashed, with a wee bit of lime juice and grated zest.

    Turnips. Peel, chop up small, boil or steam for 7 minutes, drain, mash with butter, add a good sprinkling of pepper.

  10. Imagine your joyful homecoming Timmy, when you and wee wifey run into eachothers arms, and she says “Is that a rolling pin in your pocket, or are you just pleased to see me”, and you get to say yes.
    To both.
    Think of the brownie points lad.

  11. There is a perfecly serviceable TFI Friday at the Vltava end of Wenceslas Square.

    If you can bring fruit, green veg and vinegar in with you, that would be a good idea.

    Funny, last time I was in a TFI, I wished I’d brought my own drink in.

  12. There is no such thing as a perfectly serviceable TFI Friday. Unless ‘serviceable’ is taken to mean, ‘inadequate and shocking’.

  13. Eating in Czecho is always a tragedy unless you do what the locals do and go to a pizzeria / spanish restaurant or similar (used to be a good one in the old town, near the John Lennon wall.

    I remember the first time I went there I went to my hotel reception and told them we were hoping to eat some traditional czech food that evening and they quite literally said “why?”

    Czech beer – cracking. Czech wine – not as good as Hungarian, but getting there. Czech food – bloody awful.

  14. Had some good game stews last time I was in Prague in the winter.

    Used to be able to buy cheap deerskin rugs as well; a by-product of the game stews.

  15. But the first time I went, the only way to eat outside the hotel was to go to the opera where they had free canapes and Georgian champagne in the interval.

  16. I have only been to what was then Czechoslovakia once, in 1987. In a hotel in the Tatra mountains we had an evening meal that consisted of meat, lamb chops I think, potatoes and peas, a bit like a mediocre school dinner but it was the fried egg on top that added a touch of class. In an ‘Indian’ restaurant in Prague which looked OK from the outside and certainly had good service and a pleasant atmosphere we had a sort of beef stew, not even an old fashioned curry. Things don’t seem to have changed much.

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