The Thing Is with Steve Canavan - October 24, 2013

Chips in a boot - talk about a prententious way for a restaurant to serve your grub

Chips in a boot - talk about a prententious way for a restaurant to serve your grub

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I’m a broad-minded chap who can tolerate most things. Recently I’ve even begun to accept couples holding hands in public, but one thing that really gets on my wick is fancy food.

I lay the blame squarely at the door of these chefs clogging up our TV screens, the ones who rustle up meals most of us would never, ever attempt.

“Now here’s a dish that couldn’t be easier to prepare,” smarms Jamie Oliver, pointing to a veal risotto and avocado and crayfish salad that involved seven pans, a steamer, a wok and meat left overnight in the fridge to marinade. “It only takes a few minutes. What could be more simple?”

Beans on toast Jamie, that’s what.

In the old days you knew where you were. Tea was corn beef hash or egg and ham. Fish fingers were a luxury.

Why, I still remember the night we had to revive grandma after she collapsed in shock when my mum served spaghetti bolognese.

But spag bol is nothing compared to what we get nowadays.

“Pacific Ocean Black Cod Fillet: hand-glazed with a Japanese tamari and amuka honey reduction.

Delicately balanced on a sumptuous organic pearl barely risotto, hand in hand with a delightful English courgette flower beignet, teriyaki jus.”

But the piece de resistance of food daftness has to be the photograph above. Your eyes don’t deceive you – it is a restaurant (in Las Vegas) which serves the food in boots.

Now I’m a with-it guy who keeps up with modern trends – only the other day I ditched my tape recorder and bought a CD player – but I think I’m correct in saying the plate has caught on in society because it’s pretty good at what it does. It is round and flat and you can put food on it.

At no point do I ever believe I have overheard someone saying ‘hey Dan, these plate things. Not the best are they. How about we serve tea in, I dunno, say a shoe tonight instead?’.

And if we’re now using shoes to serve our food from where does it stop? Gammon and chips served in a trilby hat, chicken coq au van from a pair underpants.

Madness. Utter madness.

Trombones, monkeys and comedy greats

A colleague at work told me the other day about some of the odd habits her child has.

Checking down both sides of the bed eight times before sleeping, washing his hands after going upstairs, switching the lounge light on then off then on again before entering the room.

I found myself nodding along, privately thinking something along the lines of ‘your son is bonkers and needs to see a counsellor’, before I suddenly stopped and realised something – that I’d been just as bad if not worse when I was a nipper.

I had, for starters, an imaginary trombone. I used to carry it around in its imaginary case and then, at random intervals, would remove it from its case and begin playing a song (which consisted of me singing the tune while making trombone-like movements – let me say this, it really does make you an easy target for bullies at high school).

I have never met anyone since who has had a child with an imaginary trombone, which suggests one of two things – I’m either unique and original, or insane.

I also had an imaginary monkey, though not a nice, friendly one. The monkey was after me, it was trying to attack me.

Each night after I’d gone to my bed I would shout down the stairs ‘Dad, is the monkey outside’.

My father – who must surely have been wondering if he and my mum had accidentally scooped up the wrong child when leaving the maternity ward – would go to the front door and shout back ‘I’m just throwing it out now’, then he’d bang the door shut.

Only when I heard the door shut would I go to sleep.

I can’t recall how old I was at this point – late 20s I think – but it went on for a while.

On top of that I had other strange habits, including touching something green if I saw a lone magpie (while reciting, ‘touch green, never seen’, which, whichever way you look at it, makes absolutely no sense whatsoever).

The most bizarre habit I had though involved a poster of Laurel and Hardy (above) on my bedroom wall.

Before turning the light out at night, I had to – for reasons unknown – look at Stan’s face, then Ollie’s 28 times each. No less, no more.

Why I did this I’ve no idea. I don’t know what terrible fate I thought would befall me if I didn’t comply. And why one day did I stop?

What might also be considered worrying is I that had a poster of Laurel and Hardy. Others young lads had on their bedroom walls the beautiful, sexy women of the day. It seems I got turned on by a fat bloke hitting his companion over the head with a shovel.

So the message to any parents slightly worried about the seemingly odd behaviour of their child is this: don’t fret. I was just as bad – and look at me now, a perfectly well-rounded human being. Ish.

Hope that makes you feel better. Must dash – the lounge light needs switching on and off.