Friday, May 3, 2013

The Fridge Of Infinite Chutney


It’s been a while since I’ve slirruped anything relishy onto a cheese sandwich (my recent penchant has been for onion and tomato, just in case you’re interested, sandwich fetish fiendikins) so today I decided to reacquaint myself with all things Branston Pickloid.

I have an odd working relationship with the old Branno, frequently blowing hot and cold while it blows cold and hot.  Some days I can’t bear to be within a Neptunian moon width of this famed crispy crunchy slurry; other times, it’s as if I crave the services of a shrunken dwarven plasterer, lowered down into my gullet with trowel and bucket of Branno — and sufficient gusto to coat my stomach wall from fundus to pyloric canal.

Having done the whole distant planet moon thing for the better part of the last few months, I wondered whether the Branno would still be in the fridge.  Girly of Whirly swears it works wonders on her skin and Son of Whirl always has some science project on the go involving miscellaneous projectiles (or maybe an imprisoned cat) so when I cast my hand into the fridge I was pleased as punch when it settled on precisely what I needed — a bit like when you throw out a hand to stroke an imaginary dog and there’s always one there.


I made to lift the jar, to convey it to my working top and gloopity gloop gloop its contents onto my sliced and ironed Edam, to whoop Yippee!  Yippee!  Branno! and perform the beagliest of Snoopy dances about the kitchen with the unrestrained glee of an easily pleased teenager blessed with his or her first pet hamster — when suddenly, unexpectedly, startlingly, I noticed another jar of pickle right next to it.

From the absence of label I knew right away that it was Mother of Girly of Whirly’s famed Marrow Pickle.  Now, here was a conundrum!!!*

* ! (!)

Should I perform my Edamular sandwichiations with the aid of my original choice of Branno, or be swayed, almost zen monk on a swing-like, by the lure of pickle cultivated from marrows  grown barely three miles down the road from where the remains of Richard III were unearthed?

In the end, the decision was an easy one to make: Behind both jars of pickle lurked a further jar of something clearly relishy and chutneyey whose screw top lid simply had to be unscrewed with immediate (wrench enhanced) gusto.

“Ah!” I yelped,* “this looks, smells and feels like the miscellaneous vegetable chutney given to me by my next door neighbour as a small reward for trimming her bush!”

* still kind of doing the Snoopy dance — the bit after the foxtrot sequence when he catches his tail in the door of Charlie Brown’s shed.

That’s when it came to me, the brilliant, brilliant idea.  Why don’t I combine all three relishes?  Spread them over Edam, over Hovis, in a layered spectacular to rival the Istanbul Rug Piling Festival? 

I knew it was a brilliant idea because I got that whole lightbulb thing where the glow of synaptic perfection bursts through your skull and illuminates everything within a couple of feet of you — only it very quickly dawned on me that said glow wasn’t coming from my head but was instead pulsating from somewhere right at the back of the fridge behind a bag of cucumbers.  I recoiled — a reflex all-body spasm I thought could only have resulted from figuring out that the main source of my chilled foods and beverages might be harbouring a miniature genius in the throes of post-eureka splendour.  But it’s an easy mistake to make.  What I saw when I pulled open my eyes was a tiny open doorway, similar to the portal to Narnia, only smaller (and, because it was close to the fruit tray, bananaier), in front of which a couple of elves were rolling out jars of all kinds.

“You got the Piccalilli?” shouted one (clearly the boss on account of his ridiculous stick-on moustache).

A voice called back from the rear of the fridge.  “Two more to come, then a jar of pickled gherkins and some mystery jam with a rusty lid labelled, ‘proberbly blackcurrant, 1936'.”

I poked my nose between the glass shelves.  “Is the Piccalilli going spare?”

“Might be.”  The boss elf eyed my tri-layered Edam sandwich.  “Going for the quartet of unbelievable flavours, are we?”

“Indeed — and the gherkins and the blackcurrant would be a bridge too far, I think, despite the absence of anchoring points presenting no kind of material problem.”

“As you wish,” said the elf, handing me the Piccalilli.

As I made — nay, constructed — nay, summoned almost magically — my sandwich, the elves worked on, rolling out jar after jar till my fridge was a-burst with more preserved vegetables than the House of Commons midway through a speech by Iain Duncan-Smith.

“Now you can go as crazy as you like,” said the elves, barbershopqueartetminusonely.  The portal closed behind them and they were gone (with the exception of the boss elf, who was doing the post-foxtrot part of the Snoopy dance and caught the hem of his dungarees on a nearby cucumber).

I laughed, and chomped mightily on my sandwich.  “Hey, don’t worry guys — I will.”


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