Boxing Day Cheer

As I may have said before, we don’t have Christmas Dinner on Christmas Day itself:  Christmas Day is devoted to a Full English Breakfast with the kids (this was ours yesterday;  bangers, beans, back bacon, mushrooms. eggs and tomato all  fried in boerewors drippings and hash browns, also — not pictured — French bread toast, and cinnamon rolls made by Daughter)

I should point out that this was my plate:  the others had portions essentially double that of mine, because I can’t take that much because of gastric surgery.  I made up for it by drinking more Mimosas than everyone else.

We save the roast beef dinner till the day after Christmas:  Boxing Day (a Du Toit family tradition):

I cook the roast, New Wife does the potatoes, parsnips, asparagus and other veg., and Daughter makes the Yorkshire pud.  Dessert is generally peach cobbler and / or fruit cake with icing, but this year there’s a Yule Log like this one, compliments of Daughter.

Mostly because nobody in our family can handle a Full English and Roast Beast on a single day, we’ve turned Christmas Day into a two-day family affair.  In American terms, it’s like having two Thanksgiving meals in a row.

We like it that way.

Lockdown Partner

Forget for a moment that we’re mostly all Old Married Pharttes, and imagine that you’re going to be in lockdown with a hottie — to be more specific, a hottie chef, because regardless of how hot she is, at some point you’re gonna have to eat, and you don’t want to be stuck in that situation with Jennifer Aniston, who can’t boil a lettuce.

So here are the contenders, in no specific order:

Nigella Lawson

Rachel Allen

Rachel Khoo

Giada De Laurentiis

Lisa Faulkner

Marcella Valladolid

Rachel Ray

Ingrid Hoffmann

Cat Cora
Okay, Cat Cora is probably disqualified because sadly, she’s a lesbianist.  In her place, therefore:

Mary Berg

(That’s for my Canucki Readers…)

As an aside, three of the above are named Rachel.  Coincidence?  I think not.


And for my long-suffering Lady Readers, who are always being left out of these things:

Curtis Stone(I know, Australian therefore should be disqualified.  Shuddup or I’ll add Guy Fieri.)

James Martin

Jean-Christophe Novelli

Phil Vickery

And in the interests of good taste and such, I haven’t bothered with Gordon Ramsay, because I would refuse to pay your hearing-aid bills after you’ve been in a three-week lockdown with him.


Feel free to add your favorite chefs in Comments.

Under The Knife

I remember the day I quit exercising.

I was thirty years old, in really good shape, and while visiting my mother I went for my regular morning jog.  At the time, she lived in Umhlanga Rocks, a little seaside resort town just north of Durban, and to say that the Indian Ocean coast has a tropical climate is to understate the thing.  It’s not only hot, it’s humid — so humid that I, a Joburg boy, actually had trouble breathing the thick, moist air (Johannesburg is 6,000ft above sea level).

But I had to stay in shape, and I liked the way I looked, so off I went.  I kept the jog short, maybe two or three miles up the coast road, and then I turned around and went back, taking a little detour along the concrete boardwalk that runs past the luxury hotels and separates them from the beach.

By now, I was deeply uncomfortable and miserable:  the sweat was pouring off me, I was tired and more than a little sunburned because while I usually jogged without a shirt up in Johannesburg, it was not an issue there — but down here, in the blazing tropical sun, my fair skin was going extra-crispy, and fast.

I was coming up to the last leg of the trip, where I could make the turn and head back to my mother’s house.  At that point, one of the hotels had a patio cafe right on the boardwalk, and sitting at a table under a large Cinzano umbrella were two rather pretty younger women.  As I ran past, one whistled and called out in Afrikaans, “Nice bod!”

I waved over my back at her, ran about a dozen more yards, and stopped dead in my tracks, chest heaving and my breath wheezing like a beached whale as the epiphany struck me.  I was doing all this — the tiredness, the sweatiness, the sunburn, the aching muscles — just so a stranger could compliment me on my “mooi lyfie” ?

I walked back to my Mom’s house, and never jogged again.

All this came back to me when I read the story of how Ozzy Osbourne’s daughter Kelly has had gastric sleeve surgery and thus lost over 80lbs.

Now I’m not going to go into some stupid amateur psycho-analysis as to why she would want to do this.  She was always a plump little thing, and clearly she didn’t like the way she looked (hence all the tattoos she had inflicted on herself, tattoos which she is now having removed — draw your own conclusions).  And she looks quite fetching now (see the link above)… but that just leads me to my earlier conclusion:  why would she undergo so radical a surgery, just so a stranger like me could think she was “quite fetching”?

I know several women who have had gastric sleeve surgery, and every single one has told me that had they known what the consequences were going to be (other than the massive weight loss), they would never have done it.  You see, the weight loss may be all very well, but what the gastric sleeve does is make eating food a profoundly uncomfortable experience:  nausea, pain, discomfort and a general malaise all follow if you eat so much as a single forkful of food too many, and after a while you begin to hate the sight of food.  Any food.

And what happens next is that some of the joy goes out of your life.  Eating is such a wonderful and enjoyable experience, really:  nothing quite compares to the feeling of satisfaction, of well-being and happiness that a good meal gives you.  It’s one of life’s simple, and paradoxically one of life’s greatest pleasures.  And with gastric sleeve surgery (which is irreversible), it’s gone forever.

So while everyone — and every one a stranger — is complimenting Kelly Osbourne on how great she looks, know too that her previous unhappiness at being overweight has been replaced with a much greater one.

And frankly, I never thought she was that fat to begin with.

Let Them Eat Cake

Via email, Alert Reader Mike L sends me this news:

Subway bread isn’t legally bread, according to Ireland’s highest court.

Not having eaten anything from Subway in over twenty years, my memory may be a little cloudy on this topic;  but I do know that the reason for that has to do with the taste of their bread, which always prompted the question:  “What have I just put into my mouth?”  [as the actress said to the bishop]

It’s foul, and I know that when driving in strange areas of the country looking for something to eat, Subway is never an option.  Ghastly stuff.

More Chinkvirus Casualties

Under First World Problems, add this situation to the list:

GREGGS fans say they’re “heartbroken” as the bakery chain has reopened today but with a limited menu that doesn’t include favourites such as corned beef bakes. Others can’t believe Belgian buns are off the menu, as are regional delicacies including stotties.

For those just coming into this here corner of the Intarwebz (i.e. my back porch), some explanation of a personal nature may be necessary.

Greggs is the premier fast-food chain in Britishland (much bigger than McDonalds), and my home away from home.  Every time I fly into Heathrow, I jump on the train to London (unless Mr. Free Market has sent Baillie the chauffeur to pick me up), and get off at Earl’s Court.  Literally across the street from the station entrance is a Greggs, and I sit there, suitcases and all, and enjoy a sausage roll and cup of tea.  Only then do I feel strong enough to go to the hotel or whatever.

This applies when I’ve had a morning arrival, of course;  evening flights will find me doing the same, only at The Blackbird, a block down, where the sausage roll and tea are replaced by fish & chips and a pint of Fuller’s London Pride, respectively.

Getting back to the original topic:  I see that the “reduced” menu mercifully includes my favorites, the aforementioned sausage rolls, and my other, the steak bake pie.  So I’m alright, Jack.

That said, I quite understand the frustration that others may feel to find their favorites MIA from the menu.  Were that to happen to me, well… I don’t want to say I’d go full jihad  on Greggs with bombs etc.;  but there could well be murders.