The fields are alive with the mooing and bleating of herbivores, plus a few oinks from the porky omnivores. Unusually for me, I am the one that is red in tooth and claw, as my butchers’ knives slide easily through the several kilos of tender Parthenay beef that will become a delicious Provencal daube de boeuf. The ingredients include pork lardons, capers, orange zest, black olives, garlic, brown mushrooms, a bottle of white Chardonnay from the Pays d’Oc, herbs and olive oil. The complimentary nature of this list shows that this is a tried and tested recipe of long standing that has given pleasure to many generations. This brought to mind a passage from Elizabeth David’s seminal “French Provincial Cooking” in which she states “The ones ( lessons) that are harder to assimilate are, first, in regard to the wisdom or otherwise of mixing too many ingredients, however good,……..Secondly, one has to learn in the end that the creative urge in the matter of embellishments is best kept under control”. Doesn’t that bring into focus the jovial, yet spine chilling, voice of your host letting you know that he/she doesn’t follow recipes because he/she has the knack of “knocking up something delicious”. If only it were beans on toast, but it won’t be. It’ll be incredibly ambitious, and owing to a lack of essential ingredients there will be hopelessly inappropriate substitutions. Why does it happen when the world, the internet and every book shop is side splittingly full of good books about food. It seems the same sad lack of judgement is evident in our brave leader’s choice of candidate for the ineptly named post of Drug Tsar. Having that title would suggest to me that he has a shitload off drugs to sell. However, this is very clearly not the case. In fact he has nothing to sell, but he has things to give. Those things are known as “good advice” in government speak and “snake oil” to the rest of us. Installing an official who believes that one only needs to have the good Christian sense to say “No” to a drug addict to bring about a Pauline conversion in that poor soul, is as foolish as commissioning an illiterate to overhaul reading and writing in schools. The major cartels must be having a party on the strength of the imminent rise in their profits. Hurrah for good sense.