Wednesday, 29 May 2013

A cracked-egg omelette is not cracking idea

Living is learning, so they say. And the latest lesson is simple: if an egg is cracked, don’t use it.

It was a pleasant enough bank holiday Monday. I had spent the morning pottering around the garden, with a certain sense of pleasure as various plants finally look like they're going to grow properly.

And if the weather in general has been dismal for the last umpteen months, May’s two bank holidays have been uncharacteristically good.

Monday wasn’t as glorious as Sunday had been – there was more wind and more cloud, and it was never going to be a second successive day spent sitting out with a book, getting the beginnings of a tan – but let’s not complain given the generally dire situation otherwise.

And it was good enough to feel inspired to sow salad leaves and courgettes.

So in the early afternoon, hungry from labour in the potager, I headed into the kitchen to look for some much-needed lunch.

I was contemplating hard-boiling an egg for a quick salad or sandwich, but then I spotted that two in the tray were cracked. One was so much of a mess that it went straight out and the ceramic tray needed cleaning.

The second had a cracked shell, but the membrane was intact. Having not seen these cracks before and having known that the eggs had only been decanted into the tray a day or so earlier, it seemed reasonable to assume that the breaks were new.

Instead of wasting the second, I decided to use it for part of an omelette.

All of which seemed perfectly fine – although a point here: I like my omelettes lightly cooked.

A few hours later, as a piece of lamb was roasting in the oven, I started to feel twinges of nausea and a growing gut ache.

By the time that dinner was ready, I didn’t want anything at all – that's right, I didn't want roast lamb with Jersey Royals and asparagus.

I went to bed early, struggling to get comfortable between visits to the bathroom.

The worst was reached at about 1am, when I was perched on the throne, beaded with cold sweat and desperately grasping the one receptacle within reach – a spare litter tray.

Yesterday was spent almost entirely in bed – unprecedented – and even today, I still feel a little like a wrung-out dishcloth.

Now it could have been a bug, but if so, it bypassed The Other Half completely.

So, remember: if an egg is cracked, don’t assume it’s only just been cracked and is therefore safe to eat.

I have only myself to blame, but I like to think that I experience such things so that you don’t have to.

A steaming pile of something or other
On a somewhat different note – but every bit as cracked – in an effort to aid my recovery last night, I sat down to watch the first episode (well, the first one being shown in the UK) of Jo on Fox.

Now this had been anticipated for some weeks because it’s a cop show, starring the watchable Jean Reno and set in Paris.

Just over a week ago, I watched Buddenbrooks, the 2008 film version with the wonderful Armin Mueller-Stahl. It’s only available in German, but fortunately I know the story so well it was not wasted on me.

And besides, there was the sheer joy of being able to sit there, going: ‘been there’; ‘seen that’; been down that street’; ‘know where that is’ for substantial amounts of screen time, since it was filmed in Lübeck itself.

Yes, yes, I’ve done it watching reruns of Van der Valk too, and in more than a few other films and programmes.

But here was an opportunity to do the same with Paris – combined with Reno and a genre I am far from immune to.

Oh. Dear.

There are problems right away in that it’s a joint Canadian and French co-production. So most of the cast were north Americans – in some cases playing north Americans and in others, French characters.

The only bona fide French person in it – and with the only French accent – was Reno.

So that’s confusing to start with.

Second, though: if you’re really going to go for the already-clichéd idea of the top cop with a troubled private life, make some effort to take it into territory beyond the cliché of booze.

Example?Wallander – and not least in the English-language version with Kenny Branagh, which went seriously existential.

Third, if you’re going to spend a lot of money making your location one of the stars of the show, then use it well.

Fourth, for god’s sake give the cast at least five minutes rehearsal time. It’s entirely bad enough Reno sleep-walking through it – at least he’s got some presence – but everyone else cannot simply rely on that.

Fifth – by the time I get to considering the clichéd plot, I’m in need of cliché detox.

Honestly – I’d looked forward to this, but it did my fragile health no favours.

So there you have it – a rare TV review. And the message is simple: don’t waste your time.

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