Fair play, Daily Mail-style

Viper-tongued Jan Moir on the London Olympics

“We got our first medal, courtesy of cyclist Lizzie Armitstead. What an utter darling. According to commentators, she had ‘fresh legs in good shape’, which she used to batter heroically through a torrential rainstorm, only to come second to some bitch from Holland.”

Yes, “some bitch from Holland” is how she chooses to refer to the winner of a race where the Brit happened to come second. Isn’t sportsmanship a beautiful thing?

I wish all British TV chefs could read this

Eating in England is exasperating

Especially the ones who keep repeating “it’s just not true that British food is bad, these days there are wonderful British-grown ingredients and produce everywhere and there are Michelin-starred restaurants all over the UK”, etc etc.

They’re totally missing the point. Of course there’s great stuff here – like there is everywhere – and your palate will be in heaven… if you can cook it all yourself or afford the best restaurants. If, on the other hand, you rely on ordinary British people, even professional (but not Michelin-starred) chefs to feed you, well… it’s miss and miss. Sorry, I meant hit and miss.

Love the pics in the post. They totally capture the blandness, stodginess and boringness of “traditional British food”, cooked in the easiest, laziest, least imaginative way, showing no interest whatsoever in adding a bit of wow factor or even, let’s go crazy, flavour. Not even a tiny sprinkle of chopped parsley on the carrots? And check out the thickness of those slices!

Amusingly, British TV chefs are always going on about wonderful French and Italian dishes containing “only a couple of ingredients cooked very simply”. Yes, but they’re still very tasty and don’t look like a culinary punishment either. And that’s exactly what the Brits can’t do!

No contest

Maybe there’s just not enough demand for appetising food though. Only in this country have I heard so many people say almost proudly “food is only fuel to me”, as if enjoying the act of eating were a sin. It’s like living in Babette’s Feast, but with more chips.

When I was working as an au pair, my employer once cooked some mash for her daughter and me. She boiled the potatoes, mashed them up and served them. No butter, milk or anything else. It was like eating warm cement and I had stomach ache for hours afterwards. It was unpleasant to say the least. The little girl ate the lot without batting an eyelid.

People always find it weird that I love Indian food so much, but can you blame me when the alternative is so utterly sad, not to mention vastly overpriced most of the time?

What it bloody says on the tin

Yesterday, this happy Slytherin (see previous post) read the following notification on Pottermore:

“Congratulations on winning the inaugural Pottermore House Cup. As part of your reward, you will be able to explore the first chapters of HARRY POTTER and the Chamber of Secrets before members of other houses.”

OK, cool 🙂

On the Pottermore Insider blog, they also specified that “only students who were in Slytherin when the inaugural Pottermore House Cup was awarded, will get early access.”

Sounds clear enough, yes? Obviously not for some people. I just read a reader’s comment on a fellow snake’s blog, saying (I’m paraphrasing)

“Wait, they said only Slytherin accounts that existed when the House Cup was awarded will get the reward. Does that mean ‘people who were logged in at that precise time’ or ‘people who already had an account when the ceremony occurred’?”

Well, what on earth was confusing about the original announcement? If the Pottermore people meant ‘logged in’ they would have said ‘logged in’, right? Words have meaning, especially technical words.

I come across this kind of strange attitude (“they said A so does that mean A or B”?) on a regular basis and I just can’t understand why. It seems there are people out there who absolutely insist on second-guessing everything and making life as complicated as possible. Not sure what they get out of it, apart from headaches…