Thursday, September 24, 2009

Duck Joke from Tuscan Tony

A woman brought a very limp duck into a veterinary surgeon. As she laid her pet on the table, the vet pulled out his stethoscope and listened to the bird's chest.

After a moment or two, the vet shook his head sadly and said, "I'm sorry, your duck, Cuddles, has passed away."

The distressed woman wailed, "Are you sure?"

"Yes, I am sure. The duck is dead," replied the vet.

"How can you be so sure?" she protested. "I mean you haven't done any testing on him or anything. He might just be in a coma or something."

The vet rolled his eyes, turned around and left the room.

He returned a few minutes later with a black Labrador Retriever.

As the duck's owner looked on in amazement, the dog stood on his hind legs, put his front paws on the examination table and sniffed the duck from top to bottom. He then looked up at the vet with sad eyes and shook his head. The vet patted the dog on the head and took it out of the room.

A few minutes later he returned with a cat. The cat jumped on the table and also delicately sniffed the bird from head to foot. The cat sat back on its haunches, shook its head, meowed softly and strolled out of the room.

The vet looked at the woman and said, "I'm sorry, but as I said, this is most definitely, 100% certifiably, a dead duck."

The vet turned to his computer, hit a few keys and produced a bill, which he handed to the woman. The duck's owner, still in shock, took the bill. "£ 250?" she cried, "£ 250 just to tell me my duck is dead?"

The vet shrugged, "I'm sorry. If you had just taken my word for it, the bill would have been £ 20, but that's the price with the with the Lab Report and the Cat scan."

Ta Da

Thanks Tony

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Keith Floyd Tomato Sauce Inspiration for Welshcakes RIP

Welshcakes remembers a culinary influence.

Keith Floyd, author, flamboyant TV chef and bon viveur par excellence, died of a heart attack last night. I loved his style; the man even managed to die stylishly, having enjoyed a last meal of oysters and partridge with champagne. I had a Bristolian's affection for this honorary West Country man who opened his first restaurant in that town of my childhood. And what a "cook's cook" he was, rarely giving precise quantities, instructing you to "whack this in there" or "throw some of that in the pot", encouraging you to have the confidence to make your own judgements, as often as not with a full glass in his free hand as he did so.

A fitting tribute to Floydie on this blog, I feel, would be to write about some of my favourite Floyd recipes and so I shall do just that:

I think the first Floyd TV series I followed was Floyd on France and from the 1987 book of the series I was inspired to cook, for the first time, a chicken roasted with masses of garlic. I have tried many recipes for such a dish since, and many of them - their authors losing their nerve, it seemed to me - told you to count your garlic cloves and use 12, or at the most 20. Any experienced cook will realise that this is ridiculous, as the authors cannot possibly know how pungent the garlic is in your part of the world, or how big the cloves are. There's no such wimping out in Floyd's book, however, and you are instructed to use a kilo of the stuff. And it is to Floyd's recipe that I return again and again.

From Floyd on Italy [1994] I learnt to make tomato sauce and it is this recipe that forms the basis of my own to this day. In the introduction to this volume, Floyd writes:

"What is Italian food? Spaghetti bolognese, lasagne with coleslaw and deep-pan pizzas filled with culinary garbage? No. A thousand times no...... Whereas thinly rolled dough spread with chopped tomato and topped with anchovies and cheese and zapped into a wood-fired oven is heaven - you just don't need prawns and artichoke hearts, mushroom and chicken tikka pieces in a pastry shell and even if you do you can't call it a pizza. "

He goes on to describe what Italian food really is and I have yet to read a better description.

More Floydie memories here.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Thursday, September 10, 2009

JMB Goes to Washington

I lived in the Washington DC area off and on for over ten years. I never did snare a White House invitation. JMB was able to have a look around. She tells the story on her blog.

We were very lucky to obtain tickets for a tour of the White House since usually they can not be obtained closer than one month to the date. Our friend arranged it through the office of the Senator for whom he works so we were I think considered visitors from Maine.

We fronted up very early on the morning and were checked off the list and had to show our passports and go through all kinds of security before we were conducted through a long corridor filled with photos of presidents lining the walls. As I said previously I could not take photos so these are all thanks to Wikimedia.

Only a few public rooms of the White House are included on the tour which is to be expected. But let me begin with a few facts about the house. It is the oldest public building in Washington DC and every president except George Washington has conducted business there. Although it has undergone many changes the basic structure, which was begun in 1792, has been kept. It was not occupied until 1800 when John Adams did so after the capital was moved from Philadelphia to Washington, DC, even though the building's interior was not completed at that time.

In 1814 the British forces captured Washington and burned the White House and the sandstone walls and interior brickwork were all that was left standing. But it was rebuilt by 1817 and over the years many other presidents have made structural changes to make it what it is today, including the addition of a third floor in 1927.

More here

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Tom Paine: A Very British Death

Continuing our occasional highlighting of Blogpower bloggers, I came across this on The Last Ditch. Interesting and confronting reading.

I didn't know how to be more than vaguely uneasy about this story when I read it yesterday. Anna Raccoon (post linked above) explains from a position of knowledge and experience. If you are a British reader, there is a very high chance that she is describing how your life will end; put onto a "care pathway" (a euphemism for being deprived of food and water under sedation) by state employees as a form of healthcare rationing.

The Mental Capacity Act 2005 has been enlarged and updated to include medical care for similar reasons – to provide legal cover for Doctors and Nurses to take the actions they have always taken; but because we wouldn’t allow an honest debate regarding euthanasia or assisted suicide, it took the only route open to it – that of empowering Doctors to follow the ‘Bland‘ formula, and starve you to death when you were no longer economically sustainable.

It is important to note that food and water administered by a doctor counts as "medical care." As Anna says;

Dying of malnutrition – starvation – or lack of hydration – extreme thirst – is a painful and obscene manner in which to die. It has now become the ‘gold standard’ in end of life care. It has come about because as a nation we refuse to discuss euthanasia or assisted suicide in a reasonable or responsible manner. We become both emotional and obscurist, hiding our true views behind a cloak of carefully crafted language.

The rest is in the linked article.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]