31 August 2004
Every now and then, generally at the end of a book, I get overtaken by a sudden hopeless urge to resist entropy. In my case, this might mean cleaning kitchen surfaces, but it’s more likely to be tackling the papers on my desk, trying to discover where there still is a surface beneath the mayhem. I’ve been at this in a dilatory way for the last month or so, and I am now down to the base stratum, beneath which is nothing but fake leather and exhausted wood. I do of course want a new desk, but not till I have a new office to put around it, a new house to put around that...
Anyway, there’s always a little light fun to be had, rediscovering stuff that I once thought worth keeping (or often just not quite worth the effort of throwing away). Today’s favourite is a leaflet from the firefighters’ strike of two years ago (good dating evidence of how rarely I actually do this). It’s issued by the Tyne & Wear Fire Authority, signed by the Chief Fire Officer, and I do not think he can actually have read it. I do not think anyone can actually have read it; even the person who wrote it can’t have read it. As soon as I saw it, I remembered that there was something joyful here, and this is it. There’s lots of good advice (notably about candles, ‘Don’t leave candles to burn unattended’ - which is relevant this morning, because I’ve just discovered a candle burning in my bathroom, and last night’s bath was a fairly quick affair without candlelight, so it’s been going for two days without my noticing...), and then it gets to the ‘Cooking’ section. For those of you who lack the benefit of being British, a chip pan is an open saucepan with a wire basket, filled with oil and used first for deep frying and then for setting the house on fire. Me, I use a wok; but this is the advice, and I love it.
Take special care when cooking
Never leave cooking unattended
Do not fill a chip pan more than one-third full
Never put food in a chip pan.
© Chaz Brenchley 2004
Reproduced here by permission of Chaz Brenchley, who asserts his moral right to be identified as the author of this work.