Filling The Old Pie-Hole

One of my childhood comfort foods was the venerable (to Brits) steak ‘n kidney pie (my Murkin Readers can pause here for regurgitation purposes). Basically no larger than a fistful, it’s as advertised: pieces of steak and kidney smothered in gravy, all encapsulated in flaky pastry. As a starving boarding school pupil, it saved me from death on many an occasion when purchased from the school “tuck” shop during First Break (recess).

Most takeout places in Britishland serve these things hot, and they are pretty much a staple snack dish, along with chicken pies, pork pies, Cornish pasties (too much veg., not enough meat) and variants such as steak ‘n potato and steak ‘n onion.

However, if you’re looking for something to eat at home, i.e. something that can be bought at a supermarket, then pickings are slim; for reasons which escape me, the supermarket pies are almost all dreadful regardless of store name — Tesco, Sainsbury and even Waitrose have nothing to brag about when it comes to pies.

I thought all was lost until only a few days ago, when I discovered this magnificent item in the fridge at Sainsbury, of all places:

(“Pukka” is a derivative of an Indian word which means “the real thing” — and is it ever.)

Pukka makes other pies, but I don’t know which or how many, because I only had eyes for this type. I bought one, and took it home without any high expectations — but oh joy, was I ever wrong!

Large pieces of tender meat (no gristle), lovely savory gravy and crispy pastry, warmed in the Aga for only a few minutes: if I’d bought half a dozen I’d have eaten them all in one sitting. The Cook at FM Towers also likes them, and tells me that their other offerings are likewise splendid, so there you have it.

This has been a Public Service Announcement from Kim, and will help anyone traveling to Britishland hereafter. No need to thank me, it’s all part of the service.

5 Worst Things To Find In Your Lifeboat’s Survival Kit

Your trip on board the Ocean Princess has ended in disaster and you find yourself alone in a lifeboat with no others in sight. In the boat’s survival kit you find the following, ranked in ascending order of awfulness:

  • an empty flare gun
  • a coupon for $100 off your next trip on the Ocean Princess
  • a blister pack of contraceptive pills
  • a tin of boiled lutefisk
  • a CD player with fresh batteries, containing “Barry Manilow: The Turkish Bath Years”

Your suggestions on the topic in Comments, please.

Morons And Twisted People

As Longtime Readers may know, my writings have occasionally caused Bad Feelings among a certain group of people: feministicals of both* genders (Pussification), members of the Perpetually-Offended By Perceived Racial Slurs Club (Let Africa Sink) and wannabe gun controllers, as well as all sorts of people of the liberal inclination who have taken exception to things I’ve written, even when obviously only played for a laugh or to highlight liberal stupidity [redundancy alert].

Those Bad Feelings have occasionally manifested themselves as death threats against me, which I’ve shrugged off because if I see them coming, I can take preemptive action (e.g. shoot the wannabe-assassin in the face with a .45 bullet or two). If I don’t see them coming, well… nothing to be done about it, really.

I won’t say that I’ve deserved such extreme silencing measures, of course, but I will at least acknowledge that my writing — i.e. something I’ve actually done as Kim du Toit — has caused said Bad Feelings. The people making the threats are sick fucks, and that’s all there is to it.

However, I recently discovered that there’s a whole sub-basement of Sick Fuckery, whose denizens are even worse than my brand of assholes. These are the people who have uttered death threats against Dutch actress Carice van Houten, not because of anything she’s done herself, but because of things she’s done while playing a character in a TV show. I speak here of Game of Thrones, of course, and apparently this hapless woman’s character is a pretty bad sort who causes all sorts of misery unto other characters in the show.

Now, I haven’t watched GoT, as the cognoscenti call it, since its first season when I realized that writer George R.R. Martin is a shit storyteller (explanation some other time) and the show was going to suck terribly. But apparently, some totally sick and twisted fans of GoT have somehow gotten the idea that the lovely Ms. Van Houten is personally, in real life, responsible for all those evil misdeeds of her character, and have uttered death threats towards her, I suppose, to try to end her HBO-based “reign of terror”. Here’s this eeeevil woman as herself:

Like I said, this transference of hostility portrays not only delusional stupidity, but industrial-strength delusional stupidity. These idiots make my set of armchair assassins look positively sane by comparison.

I’d like to say that we can safely ignore these fools because, well, they’re fools. But unfortunately, delusional fools such as these have an unfortunate tendency to become non-delusional murderers — John Hinckley over Jodie Foster, David Chapman over John Lennon and so on. So because of that, I want the police (regardless of country) to hunt these assholes down and send them to a non-delusional prison for a lengthy stay. This will achieve two objectives: 1.) it will take them out of our society for a while — at least until GoT finishes its final season and Carice van Houten can go on to star as, I dunno, maybe Maria von Trapp in the next West End production of Sound of Music — and 2.) it may act as a deterrent to the next generation of delusional idiots who want to attack people for abstract reasons. I emphasize “may” because with this kind of stupidity, there are no guarantees.

Oh, God; I just realized that by called George R.R. Martin a shit storyteller and saying that GoT sucks as an epic tale that I’m probably going to attract these tools’ homicidal attentions towards myself. (I can only hope that they’ll bring a GoT-appropriate sword or dagger to the gunfight that will ensue.)

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to the Barbury School for a little further instruction in shooting at moving targets.


*I don’t care how many “genders” are currently fashionable. There are only two — male and female — although there is a case for a neutered third gender which would include both male and female academics working in the Humanities Department at universities, whom nobody wants to fuck.

Back To Normal

For the past two weeks or so it’s been quiet here in Hardy Country. The Free Markets were sailing on their yacht somewhere in the eastern Mediterranean and I was pretty much left to my own devices here at the Towers. This meant that I could catch up with my reading, and the staff could recover from the floggings.

However, Mrs. FM returned home last night and Mr. FM remained in the capital to continue his calling, i.e. oppressing the working classes. This means that life will return to its quiet pastoral nature out here, except that the gardener is going to get soundly chastised for allowing the lawns to exceed the prescribed 2″ in height.

I think I’ll have some breakfast, watch the flogging and then go for a ride on the grounds. Colonel Brandon would approve.

Comfort Food

I’ve put on weight in the month or so that I’ve been Over Here, mostly because I’ve been enjoying the foods of my childhood (South Africa, a onetime British colony, had a partial-Brit cuisine). Yup: we’re talking sausage rolls, steak ‘n kidney pies, porridge, fish ‘n chips, Full English breakfasts and of course, the occasional chocolate bar (Fry’s Turkish Delight) not readily available in Murka.

Then there’s been Wadworth 6x beer, which was not a childhood comfort food, but is definitely my adult one.

And speaking of comfort food, I’ve rediscovered the excellence of Southern Comfort as an evening aperitif. Southern Comfort was my bedside tipple of choice back when I was a professional musician (Cliff Notes: rock musician, in my early twenties, during the 1970s — of course I had a favorite bedside tipple). The best thing about Southern Comfort (Suthies, as we used to call it) is that I don’t need ice — in fact, I prefer it at room temperature which, as any fule kno, is cooler in Britishland than  in Texas.

Of course, I was shocked to discover that during my long layoff from Suthies that the manufacturer had gone and changed the label from its elegant antebellum design to something more “modern” that is, well, terrible.

      

In fact, when searching for Southern Comfort on the liquor store shelves, I missed it completely because I was looking for the bottle on the left when in fact the disgusting new one was right in front of me. Worse yet, the pathetic little new cap means that you can no longer use the long gold cap of old as a shot-glass. If I can somehow find an old bottle in decent condition, I’m going to use it as a decanter.

And of course they’ve added a whole slew of new variants — “ginger”, “lemon” and so on, none of which I have any intention of trying.

I hate change.

I know: Southern Comfort is less of a whiskey than it is a liqueur. I don’t care about the designation, I only care about the taste, which is lovely. Also, it enables me to more or less keep up with the drinking rate of Mr. Free Market and The Englishman, which would cause even accomplished booze hounds like Dylan Thomas or Peter O’Toole to fall over.

And it’s an excellent accompaniment to a late-night bacon buttie — yet another comfort food of my childhood:

I’m gonna need three airline seats to carry my fat ass back to Dallas…

Seldom Spoken, Truer Words, Mankind For The Benefit Of

Sarah Hoyt sometimes makes me want to give up blogging, because she so often makes me think, “I should have written that. Why didn’t I?” Her latest, on what constitutes duty, starts off high with a brilliant Heinlein quote, and then soars up into the heavens. Sample:

Fulfill those duties you freely assumed, yes, even unto death, because that’s the price of your honor and your adulthood.  But those obligations imposed on you by force majeure?  Accept the need to do it, if there is no other alternative, but do NOT under any circumstances internalize it as your duty or feel guilty for not fulfilling it.

This is why you should harbor absolutely no feelings of guilt about avoiding taxes as much as you legally can, why you should never volunteer information to the police unless you’re an uninvolved witness and why (in 2020) you should tell the government’s “census”-takers to fuck off with their snooping and intrusive questions. And those are just the first three which came to me as I was reading it. Feel free to add your own suggestions in Comments.

Read Sarah’s whole post, please. It will clear your head and make your whole day brighter, as it did mine.