Saturday, May 09, 2009

Meals to eat when you are ill!

It is amazing what a decent meal and hyper tension talking in a foreign tongue will do to the lingering debilitations of general un-wellness.

This lunchtime to Terrassa for the Meal of the Three Birthdays and very nice it was too. I had baby broad beans flavoured with a variety of fishy bits, followed by a vast dish of fish and sea food.

I have developed an ‘efficient’ way of eating these seemingly mountainous meals. The almost overwhelming visual effect is (as it were) affected by a carefully ostentatious structuring of the dead sea creatures on offer.

The base of the edifice is constructed of large shelled mussels which look and usually taste good, but have a high ‘flash to flesh’ ratio – which means that there is a lot of inedible shell to a small amount of succulent mussel. De-shelling the mussels gives you room to manoeuvre and allows you to distinguish exactly how many crustaceans are lurking on your plate.

De-heading those removes a vast amount of interesting, if indigestible fishy limbs.

The mountain of exoskeleton, which at first sight had drawn envious comments, has now been reduced to manageable proportions and only the slabs of fish (hitherto lost beneath waving shrimp limbs) are the only substantial mouthfuls in sight.

If, like me you are an enthusiastic ‘hands-on’ eater then revealing the flesh of the gambas is put the frenzied rending of a moment and the taste sensation can commence.

The drawback of this approach to the dish is that if anyone else is eating it at the same time, your efficiency in the rapid discarding of inedible bits produces a mountain of waste before the others have got started!

Having said that, I don’t think that anyone fully finished their dish. Not that it stopped anyone from having a dessert. And a coffee. A good meal.

In a rather flashy show of dedication (and desperation) I returned to Castelldefels to continue the exam marking which has to be done before Monday and, which is rather more intimidating, has to be entered into a program which uses Excel to order the results.

The ‘magic’ details involving the devious use of the dollar sign as some sort of instruction to the powers that be to do the correct mathematics have been explained to me. But I am not absolutely sure that I remember all the stages in getting the machine to do more work that I have to do putting the information in.

The only good thing about programs not working for you (especially if you have been brought up on early versions of Windows™) is that time in front of a computer screen does not seem to have the same value as time spent, for example, drinking a cup of tea.

I have spent frustrated hours trying to get a computer program to do some calculations that would have taken me a few minutes with pencil and paper. But there is that sense of consummate achievement when your results are tabulated with the inhuman elegance that only a computer can bring to mere lists.

I am hoping that I can go back to a previous table and click on certain squares and read the runes that appear when you do so and then scurry back to the work in progress and attempt to introduce the magic and hope for the best. I am tempted to leave this until tomorrow because the state into which I get when I find that things do not work out always tends to echo the sentiments found in one of the bleaker stories by Somerset Maugham

So, I shall hope for sun tomorrow and a renewed will to dress up figures so that they look almost convincing.

But, for tomorrow, definitely.
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