Dean Martin isn’t drinking any more…

The fact that he is no longer amongst the quick somehow deadens the segue “…..but he isn’t drinking any less.” I have been drinking less of late and I’ve noticed that life without a drip feed of Cotes de Rhone becomes simpler and more pleasing day by day. Our house is not “on the mains”, being in the middle of nowhere, which means that bottled gas is the order of the day. In a cupboard, beneath the hob, looking like the interior of the boot/trunk of an Iraqi parked car in the “Hurt Locker”, nestle, cheek by jowl, two stubby metal gas canisters. One is in use whilst the other waits patiently in reserve, ready to spring into action when his rotund brother breathes his last. The weakness in this simple plan used to be me. In the five years that we have been in this house the changing of the gas bottles has not been as regular an event as the Changing of the Guard but the rage and the obscene language it causes would have  persuaded Alice’s parents never to let her go out again with Christopher Robin as she seemed to gain new and more colourful expressions for body parts on each of their outings to Buckingham Palace where they apparently watched guards change. I found it easy to disconnect but impossible to connect.  That was the past. Last night, as the flames beneath the pan on the hob began, unbidden, to reduce in intensity, I knew that I had to screw my courage to the sticking point as they or he said. Before you could say “……..” I had disconnected and reconnected with the slickness of a street magician. The eternal flame was once again burning bright at La Moussiere. The moment had that uneasy feeling of being too good to be true and put me in mind of the tale of a very unlucky Jewish man for whom nothing went right. In the life of this unfortunate what could go wrong invariably went wrong. He was accustomed to this and lived stoically amongst his disappointments. The morning that his buttered toast slipped, as usual, from his fingers and fell to the carpet, but incredibly and uniquely butter side up, seemed to him to be an epiphany. He hurriedly imparted the news of this miraculous sign to the local rabbi who went into convocation with the elders to resolve the burning question as to whether the unfortunate man’s luck had indeed changed for the better. It didn’t take a lot of convoking to realise that the poor sap had buttered his toast on the wrong side. Only my next attempt at the changing of the gas bottles will confirm on which side my bread is buttered but the brownies, for whom the chocolate, butter and muscovado sugar were melting over the inconstant flame, turned out to be pretty good.

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About Food,Photography & France

Photographer and film maker living in France. After a long career in London, my wife and I have settled in the Vendee, where we run residential digital photography courses with a strong gastronomic flavour.
This entry was posted in baking, Brownies, Chocolate, Cooking, Cotes de Rhone, Digital photography, food, Food and Photography, Food photographer, France, French countryside, Photography, photography course, Photography holiday, Toast, Writing. Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to Dean Martin isn’t drinking any more…

  1. Tandy says:

    Great post! And lovely brownies. Good luck next time around in changing the gas 🙂

  2. Yes, but how many languages do you curse it in? It *has* to be more effective in English and French combined….
    (For the record, I’ve been known to suggest cooking inside instead of listening to a similar diatribe from Hubby when the bottle has to be changed on the grill on the patio….)

  3. ChgoJohn says:

    Ah, yes. Propane tanks. Like you, I found it frustrating to run our of gas in the middle of preparing my meal. Like you I bought a 2nd tank, thus insuring that I would always have a back-up canister at-the-ready should my dinner require more gas than the one canister could muster. You can, therefore, well imagine my exasperation to learn that I, once again, had neglected to refill the auxiliary tank and my entree only partially cooked. I’ve some errands to run this morning; filling that propane tank is now one of them.

  4. Oh I know those gas bottles from living in France – and bugger is just the start of the sentence….

  5. Mad Dog says:

    I seem to remember that Alice B. Toklas put something in the brownies to make everything go with a smile 😉
    BTW – I’m drinking for Dean.

  6. Very funny, thanks for the laugh, Roger! Do, please let us know on which side your bread is buttered.

  7. You’re to be even more admired for cooking such wonderful stuff under those circumstances! Those brownies look incredible.

  8. Crazy to have to rely on those tanks… And gourmand like you as well!! Thank heavens you mastered the transfer technique.. for these brownies look like they would be heavenly to nosh on!

  9. Congrats on mastering the gas tanks!

  10. Very clever, very funny and love that the toast was buttered on the wrong side! We have the gas canisters too and they always seem to run out when I´m baking a cake or on Christmas Day…very inconvenient 😦

  11. Compelling post! And brownies too!

  12. The brownies look great, Roger. But it is your story of the unfortunate Jewish man which will stay with me for days to come…

  13. Finally I have gotten around to adding your blog to my rss feed. Honestly, I am not sure I am going to be able to keep it there though, your work and recipes are just too tempting – seriously!!! I just put some scones in the oven, we might have some company coming over.
    With best wishes -c-.

  14. souldipper says:

    Just because you told such a delicious story to spotlight your “gaseous” experience, I want to give you a prize: “How to stop the pesky comment conundrum” If you have already received this from someone else, I want their name! 😀

    WP has FINALLY provided a quick fix to the change in default settings:
    http://nrhatch.wordpress.com/2012/05/16/disabling-the-default-comment-setting/

    Love your style and fingerprint.

  15. spree says:

    Funny FUNNY post Roger! Thanks for the smile. (And your brownies look scrumptious.)

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