Saturday, March 17, 2012

Hot rice v hot rats

A hazy view of the magic rice potion.
Salad and novels v stimulants.

Rice & retirement & rats: As the great grey mist descends I make plans for the future, some are based around a massive lottery win, some based around magnificent and well deserved business success and some based around nothing in particular other than acting on some kind of stupid impulse, sadly this one is the most likely. What exactly springs to mind?

a) I did think that I should not retire until the very day the Queen of England and whatever else is left comes to a newly annexed and struggling Scotland to open the completed Forth Crossing. Then as a last act of working defiance I'll cross over and back and so end my illustrious career.

b) I could also work beyond that date until I can comfortably afford to buy and run a 10 year old Maserati Quattroporte for at least a year, in a romantic swan song gesture to life in the fast lane, the middle lane, occasionally the slow lane and some rough tracks with passing places.

c) I may decide that I should count down in haircuts, a dozen maybe. I'll stick it out for dozen haircuts, nine normal and three Turkish, all equally spaced apart, perhaps each one in a different barbers based around a simple spread sheet and rating system. Establishing what the timeline might be would perhaps be hard.

d) Another option would be to go just whenever and take up the full and fulfilling career of a barista, a word I've only just learned this week. I could be like Tom Cruise in Cocktail, throwing hot steamy Starbucks milk from cup to cup, turning the innocent cafe atmosphere into Hell itself with belching vapours and hissing sliver pipes of fiery liquid that torture the crushed beans into releasing their bitter flavour. Then calling customers by made up and abusive names and coining great wads in tips revenue by continually giving out the wrong change and overcharging for the inedible biscuits and muffins. Nice.

e) Pig and chicken farming; whatever the economic climate people will eat bacon and eggs and all the variations that follow, that even includes quiche. All you need are a decent pair of gloves and wellies and no sense of smell whatsoever.

f) There's also scope for a blindingly good career in squirrel extermination, particularly in Fife, where thanks to the efforts grumpy Queen Victoria and grumpy Andrew Carnegie the grey squirrel pox has not passed from grey to red; but it will one day. The only way to avoid a future catastrophe for the reds is to mobilise and lead the people of Fife in a massive exercise of ethnic cleansing against the dirty greys and so save the reds from the poxy pox. I understand that the River Tay Beavers may also wish to participate in the cull, of course there is a huge market for squirrel meat and fur in London's fast food and fashion industry.

g) Last but not least, walk away, buy a castle and pull up the drawbridge on creditors, bloggers, buskers and bureaucrats.

Drawing a line under all that...

Heat is remarkable, I'm particularly intrigued by the way it changes the state of things. Take for example rice pudding, that so often misunderstood and these days unpopular pudding. Cold it's the kind of thing you would only eat in a real emergency such as a shipwreck, a long running nuclear winter or an elongated Scottish power cut. So if it's nice and hot, if prepared properly it can be a real treat. Anyway I was anxious to try a new and revolutionary product that's been launched on the market, made up and created by the good people of Carnation (a subsidiary and trading name, proudly owned and operated by the giant food conglomerate Nestle who are still using the cuckoo based Bird's Custard motif ), Hot Rice Pudding Mix.

I did try to follow the simple instructions but was immediately put off by some key, consumer unfriendly words and phrases; whisk, oven gloves, 261 ml, caution may be hot and allow to stand for 5 minutes, to name but a few. All in all the rice manufacturing process takes about fifteen minutes and due to the mess created took a further twenty minutes to clean up; there is also the risk of an unplanned microwave explosives event that they don't mention in the small print. I persevered and eventuality got to the point where the unpleasant and gooey material was close to being edible. It turned out that it wasn't that close unfortunately, not hot, creamy or tasty or anything good. A lot of heat and effort wasted in a gunky, crunchy mess that leaves a weird aftertaste. Heat is remarkable and will remain so, Carnation Rice Mix is not.

Rats: Nothing to do with anything or pesky squirrels.

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