28 May 2011


Ved min Viking forfædre!

My father was as brooding a Dane as any who crossed over on a day trip, found a Wold he liked and stayed on ...

Dad was a very precise man who took his Marmite seriously, usually eating it when mum was out.

He and I would sit down with some good bread before us and dad would slice it slim and even. If there was an open fire he'd hand me my fork and we'd toast the bread to perfection; if we had to resort to a machine, he'd use his knife as a mirror into the innards n hit the eject bouton on the second. Then carefully remove the crusts.

Then a whisp of butter, sometimes I'd not see his knife dip into the beurre, then a clean knife for the Marmite itself, three deft skims and there was his toast marmité.

My turn, ugh, gauche, slop it on.

When were taken poorly like oop 't Gan Gan's he'd plonk a spoonful into hot water and there we'd be.

When I got to the USA I found it was a culinary shibboleth par excellence - nivver met a colonial who could even look at it.

I told Anna once - à la Martin Guerre - that when she made it to a high-falutin' Anna Wintourian biotch balls-breaker, one day her assistant would announce a disheveled wreck in reception to see her, claiming to be her father.

She'd put the ne'er-do-well thru his paces, all of which he'd pass:

  • Bruised Balliol accent
  • Knew all our hong kong addresses
  • Auntie Mac's real name
  • Where we'd meet if i ever had to go on the run (the Suquamish rez, big tree down by the water, code word 'schmoo' [Dad! You said you'd never call me that again! How come Georgina has a cool nik and I'm ... like ... that?]
  • The cool concert we went to one time at that place we used to laugh about.

    "Full marks, erm, father ... so how much do you want to borrow/have/scrounge ... but first we must celebrate! Yasmin, have Lupin bring in the snacks and sherry ... ah, here he is ... Daddy, your favourite - but Father, why so white ... 'pon my soul, all colour has drained from your haggard features."

    At the very sight of the silver salver of Marmite soldiers, the fakeroo has fled.

    Anna loves that little fantasy.

    I on the other hand remind her that she herself is not quite as fond of the blessèd yeast noir as a true fruitina of my loins ...

    One day there'll be a buzz on my intercom:

    "Lord Strummer? A young person to see you ... claims to be your younger daughter ... yes, Lord S, I know you already have a younger daughter but this young lady asks only to deliver a package and then leave ... yes, Lord Strum, right away. Miss? Take the elevator to the 52nd floor and you'll be met."

    "So, young lady, you purport to be my daughter? What's this? A package in grease-free paper ... 'pon my soul! You're handing me a Vegemite sandwich, I'm sorry, MARMITE, good catch ... hmm, the crusts removed, lightly buttered, a whisper of the Dark Spread ... Anna! Come to my bosom!

    You've returned! You know, that day in Fortnum's when I took my eyes off you and then when I looked again ... darling! Reunited after all these years.

    Elisávet, call Luigi at The Fatted Calf, my usual table, bottle of the Dom on ice ... "

    Anna [the pretender] "Dad! That's not funny. I don't like that story."

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