City Jackdaw followers may have seen my recent post about how, even in the midst of a national pandemic, the sprouts that we’d had for tea turned out to be the most disappointing thing, so far, of 2020.
Well today was the day of redemption. Or, to put it more accurately, today should have been the day of redemption.
For what day is it today?
And what do we eat on Sunday?
Why, Sunday lunch, of course.
It just so happened that this afternoon my wife’s mother was being discharged after a couple of days in hospital, and Jen was going with her father to pick her up.
“Keep an eye on those pans,” was her departing instruction to me, “when they start to boil turn them down.”
I think you know where this is going, don’t you? But there were mitigating circumstances.
Nine days ago Peter Sutcliffe, the man better known as The Yorkshire Ripper, died, having caught Covid-19 whilst still incarcerated for his crimes and refusing treatment. People of a certain age and geography will remember how his reign of terror paralysed the North of England as he struck in Leeds, Bradford, Manchester, Halifax, Huddersfield, Keighley and Silsden, before being finally caught in Sheffield.
And, coincidentally, as the news of his death broke (and was mostly celebrated), this book was already on its way to me:
And I was reading it while I was also on pan duty.
When they start to boil, turn them down
Well I remembered that much, and after putting my book down a couple of times to venture into the kitchen, found that both pans (one containing sprouts and the other mixed veg), were indeed starting to boil and so did as instructed.
Because the kitchen windows were steaming up, I opened the back door to let the air in, and then, to keep the cold draught out, closed the joining door behind me when I returned to the lounge.
It also kept out the smell of burning. Though Jen detected it as soon as she came home. Fancy that.
“How do you mean?”
“Did you turn the pans down?”
“Yes,” I replied, thinking myself on safe ground.
We both went into the kitchen. Then it became a question of semantics.
“There’s no water in them!”
“They look okay.”
I peered in at the sprouts, picking up a fork to stir them around a little. “They’re not. Not all of them. Just the ones touching the bottom.”
“I gave you one job to do.”
“You told me to turn them down when they were boiling, which I did do.”
“And keep an eye on them.”
“You said to keep an eye on them before turning them down. I thought you’d be back sooner.”
“I thought you’d top them up with water when you checked them.”
She hadn’t mentioned anything about checking them after I’d turned them down, though I guess that sounded reasonable.
“You did check them again?”
I decided it best not to go down the verbatim route.
“Well . . . “
“Every time I got to the end of a chapter the Ripper struck again.”
She looked like she was going to strike again, too.
“I should have known. You were reading . . . ”
Anyway, I didn’t think they were too bad. The sprouts were smaller than the ones of my last post, and so were softer, just how I like them. They just tasted a little . . . smoked.
Could barbecued sprouts be a thing? I’m not sure, but I think when Jen asks me what I want for Christmas this year I’d better say “Pans.”
Now the pots are all stacked up by the sink, and to get back into her good books I should make a start on them. But, speaking of books, you see, the Ripper is about to get caught . . .