Arguing The Toss

Today, during a meeting at work, one of my colleagues decided to share a top culinary tip with us. She’s a pretty smart cookie, so I was curious to know what mind blowing gastronomic trickery she was about to impart.

She smiled, opened her mouth and said:

“The best way to tell if your pasta is cooked properly is to throw it against the fridge and if it sticks, it’s cooked.”

Illogical

After a long pause and a few shared looks of concern for both her mental health and the quality of her spaghetti bolognese, I replied, “Or, you could, y’know, taste it”.

After a few nods of agreement at my introduction of sanity, and some repressed chuckles at the ludicrous nature of what she’d just spouted out of her mouth hole, she sat up in her chair and became very animated.

“I’m serious! It’s the best way to test if your pasta is cooked!”, she insisted.

She was wrong, of course.

“Ask anyone!”, she continued, “Google it!”.

This was a great suggestion because if it’s on the internet, it’s got to be true. Hey, did you know that a duck’s quack doesn’t echo?

So, as we argued the toss (see what I did there?), we decided to Google it and, lo and behold, there were a plethora of videos uploaded by NOT chefs showing that pasta, when thrown at a fridge or a window (or a flat screen TV, or a work colleague’s face) does, in fact, stick.

At this point we argued that under-cooked pasta will also stick because, y’know, starch.

She wasn’t having any of it.

So, as we all went back to our desks, still disputing the issue, she collared the first person we came across and pounced on him; “Hey, how do you test if pasta is cooked properly?”.

He paused for a moment, clearly not expecting to be asked this question today, and replied with, “You throw it at the ceiling and see if it sticks”.

“YES!!” she screamed, victoriously throwing her hands in the air, before turning to us with fingers pointing, “See, I told you! Ha!”.

So let me get this right, your only reliable and factual back up is someone who is clearly NOT Google, and also throws his pasta ON THE CEILING to check if it’s cooked? Not only does his kitchen probably resemble a cave full of stalactites, but he’s also an idiot.

Being half Italian myself, I know how to check if your pasta is cooked; you time it and you taste it; it’s simple really. Hurling your food at a kitchen appliance is not a sure fire way to check how cooked your meal is.

Plus, it’s fucking up my fridge magnets.

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The chronicles of Squid-dick

I know, I know….I haven’t posted anything recently and I’m sorry. Although, weirdly, I’ve had more email subscriptions in the last few weeks than a Nigerian prince has in a year.

Hmm.

Anyway, not one to complain, I thought I’d share a conversation I literally overheard at work about 10 minutes ago.

The names have been changed to protect the innocent.1

Dumbelina – “Hey, Tarquin! What’s the name of the ramen place we’re going to later?”

Tarquin popped his head up from behind his computer, clearly preoccupied with something he was watching or masturbating to.

“What?”

“The ramen place.”, she continued.

Tarquin stopped for a beat and blinked twice; “What ramen place?”

“The one we’re going to at lunch.”

Tarquin paused again, desperately tring to cling to a conversation he was clearly not understanding.

“What about it?”, he replied, rapidly losing wood.

“What’s the name of it?”

“Oh…”, he said, finally getting a grasp of the conversation, now that he no longer had anything substantial to grasp, “…I think it’s called [insert the name of the ramen place here because I can’t remember it for the life of me!]”

“OK, thanks T-Dog2; I just wanted to have a look at the menu.”

“Uh huh”, he mumbled as he went back to whatever it was he was doing to himself.

There was a brief silence, punctuated only with the tapping of keys and the faint clicking of a mouse button.

“Ah, here it is”, muttered Thumbelina as she found the website.

> click <

Pause

> click <

A longer pause (Jesus, some people surf the internet slower than a sloth wearing a heavy backpack, trekking through deep snow, wearing flippers)

“What the hell is this?”, she half said to herself, but I suspected was intended for those around her (including me) to ask, ‘What’s that?’.

No-one did.

She continued clicking.

“Deep fried octopus balls??”

I choked on my coffee.

“Ha ha ha…er, excuse me; sorry!”, I said through caffeinated coughing.

Now having an audience, she attempted to engage me in conversation, “Right?? Octopus balls!”

“Ha, yeah right”, I said wryly as I continued checking Facebook – er, I mean continued working – realising I had a blog post happening right now….live! I smiled to myself as I wondered what she would say next. Would that be it? Would that be the only amusing thing she’d say about the menu from ‘that ramen place’?

Nope.

She continued down the list muttering the occasional ‘Oh’, and ‘Eeuw’ before exclaiming, “Ooh, french fries!”.

Maybe the ramen place is called McDonalds?

“Tarquin, they have french fries! Oh wow, they have french fries with gravy!”

Tarquin didn’t care. He was laid back in his chair, sweating, and smoking a cigarette.3

We’ve all been there

1 – Stupid
2 – OK, maybe I’m embellishing here a little bit.
3 – See 2

A sign of things to comma

Yes, yes, I know it’s been a while since I posted something.

Work has been really busy lately as I was recently promoted (small smattering of applause can be heard somewhere at the back, followed by a hacking dry cough and a murmuring to just ‘get on with it’), so I haven’t had a lot of time to put fingers on keyboard.

However, I can find 5 minutes to share this little moment of sheer joy.

So I arrived at the office this morning and noticed this small sign on someone’s desk.

Some of you can probably see where this is going

Now, for clarity, this ‘someone’ is the head of a department. Like, he’s WAY up there in the echelons of senior management, and this sign is clearly a visual aid to encourage energy, teamwork and whatever he feels necessitates this sign.

But….

Being the Grammar-Nazi I am, couldn’t help myself!

Ah, the humble comma; how we miss you.

In this context, it’s not so much a visual aid than a visual impairment, depending on your aim.

But I’m sure he’ll see the funny side of this and will be fine with me mocking his grammatical oversight, plus….

…I don’t want to rub it in.

Aaaahthankyou!

Stupid on both sides

It’s really quiet in the office this morning.

All that can be heard is the tapping of keyboards and that angry/sleepy silence that can only be brought on by being at work at 6-fucking-30 in the morning.

The soothing silence was eventually broken by one of my colleagues asking a question to anyone who was listening…..or awake.

“Does ‘two sided’ mean ‘on both sides’?”

If it was at all possible, the silence got even quieter. You could hear a pin drop…..in London.

I replied (naturally), “Hmm, well, let’s think about it. Does two sided mean both sides? Whew, that’s a tough one…”

“I realize1 now, that was a stupid question.”, he replied.

Yes, yes it was.

1 Not a typo; he’s American.

What’s the secret to a successful marriage?

You know those people you see on social media, or in person, who are so ridiculously in love with their other half that it makes you want to puke your lungs out?

Yeah, that’s me I’m afraid.

I often get asked what the secret to a successful marriage is, and I usually reply with the typical series of clichés:

  • You need to be best friends
  • You should always be honest with each other
  • No secrets
  • Always put them first

Blah blah blah.

But, in truth, one of the major secrets to a successful marriage is affectionate verbal abuse….or, as comedian Micky Flanagan puts it, ‘Casual Cunting’.

So why am I sharing this advice with you?  Well, here is a literal word for word interaction with my wife last night (sorry in advance, Mum).

Now, In order for this to make total sense, you need to know that my wife is a tiny 5’1″.  OK, got it?  Let’s continue…

So I was looking for a lighter and I couldn’t find it.  We both looked everywhere and then suddenly my wife said:

“Oh, here it is in my hand”.

I rolled my eyes and jokingly barked, “How do you hide anything in those little dwarf hands!?”

To which she replied, “I can’t…….except yo’ dick!”

Not only did she get a full on high five as we sat there screaming with laughter, but I fell a little more in love with her.

So the real secret to a successful relationship?  Don’t take it all so seriously.  You’re clearly together because you’re in love (or the other person has a lot of money or whatever), so relax and enjoy being the casual cunts you are.

This is more like it actually! (ahem)

What it’s REALLY like across the pond

I haven’t posted anything for a long time.  Seriously, it’s been over a month!

I’m sure you’re [not] wondering why this is; well….life has been pretty ‘samey’ recently and there hasn’t been anything that has amused or pissed me off in a while.

Over a month actually.

Anyway, the other day I was asked a question that stunned me into silence so much that it inspired me to write this post.  The question I was asked was:

“Is Christmas day in the UK the same as it is in the US?”

I paused for a moment, blinked a few times, and then gave a polite and sensible reply.

Oh, wait, no I didn’t.

I was sarcastic, condescending and there was a lot of finger pointing and laughing. I won’t lie….I was a bit of a cunt about it.

But honestly, who thinks Christmas is on a different day in the UK!?

Anyway, this got me thinking about all the questions and conversations I’ve been in that highlight the misconceptions Americans have about the UK and Europe in general. I have already touched on some of these before, but they just won’t go away….like syphilis or any of the Kardashians1.

So, without further ado:

We all drink Tea in the UK

Actually….no.

Granted, tea IS a big deal in the UK but there are a lot of Brits that don’t like it, opting instead for coffee. We like to call those people ‘traitors’ or ‘weird’. In addition, Americans also don’t realise that we generally drink tea with milk.

“Oh. My. GAWD!  With milk??”

Yes, with milk.

They go on and on (and fucking on) about how much we drink tea in Britain, but have absolutely NO idea about the tea we actually drink.  I’ve lost count the number of times I’ve been asked what flavour tea I drink.

“Fruit?”  No.

“Green?”  Still no.

“Camomile?”2  Nope.

“Earl Grey?”  Erm, some people do.

“So what do y’all drink then?”

Proper (black) tea…in a mug….with milk and sugar; very few people use the clichéd dainty little cup and saucer with the obligatory pinky finger sticking out.  Take note America, a proper mug – sometimes with a crack in it – is the ONLY way to drink tea.

Oooh, I do fancy a cuppa right now.

Geographically confusing delights

English Muffins

In America they have ‘English Muffins’ which, aside from McDonalds, I have never seen in the UK ever.

Yes, I know the flag isn’t the English flag. More on that below….

Yet I get told that we all eat them in England because, well, it has England in the name.  It’s either English muffins or ‘tea and crumpets’.  Sorry to tell you this America, but we don’t all eat crumpets all the time with our tea.  If anything, it would be tea and toast.

Mmmm, tea and hot buttered toast….with either Marmite or a nice bitter marmalade.

But tea and crumpets?  Rarely.

Additionally, whilst I’m on the subject of geographically named sweet treats, they also have something over here called:

German Chocolate Cake

I’ve been to Germany several times and never seen this cake.  Do you want to know why?  Hmm?  Do you?  Well, here is what I found on Wikipedia:

‘German chocolate cake, originally German’s chocolate cake, is a layered chocolate cake from the United States filled and topped with a coconut-pecan frosting. It owes its name to an English-American chocolate maker named Samuel German’

Interesting….considering I’ve been told, categorically, that it DOES come from Germany and I “don’t know what i’m talking about”, so it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy that:

a) I’m right, and

b) The people who told me that bullshit, read my blog.

Read it bitches…..read it all!

French Fries

I don’t even want to get started on this one.  Let’s just move on shall we?

French Toast

Nope.  Never seen that in France ANYWHERE.  Toast in France is usually thin and NOT packed to the gills with sugar, butter and death.

Italian Wedding Soup. 

Yep, apparently that’s a thing here too.  I’m half Italian and I’ve been to real Italian weddings and I have NEVER seen this soup. How can this be? 

Oh hello Wikipedia!

Wedding soup or Italian wedding soup is an Italian-American soup consisting of green vegetables and meat. It is popular in the United States, where it is a staple in many Italian restaurants.

Honestly, I’m not sure why this is a) Italian and b) for weddings.  It’s a lovely soup, but at the end of the day it’s still a soup….and soup can be messy.  Adding any type of sloshy food to people in their smartest attire, and one big white dress, is a recipe for disaster (thinly stretched pun intended).

Belgian Waffles

Now THIS one is actually accurate.  This style of waffle IS Belgian; I’ve been to Belgium a lot and they’re exactly the same as the American ones.  Only, this time, the Americans just call them ‘Waffles’; no ‘Belgian’ in there whatsoever.  The ONE time it’s actually correct to name a food after a country and they don’t do it!

I despair, I really do.

(takes a moment to compose himself)

OK…moving on….

Paris is romantic

No it’s not.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but it really isn’t. It’s grey, grimy, crap and in French.

It’s basically London with less friendly people…trust me!  The Hollywood held perception is that Paris is all cobble streets and baguettes, with accordion music faintly heard on the breeze, when in reality it’s a bustling city with the sound of constant droning traffic.

Oh, and it smells like toilet.  Not ‘Eau Du Toilette’…….an actual toilet.

Yes, it has the Eiffel Tower and yes the architecture is old and beautiful and it has museums and bridges and stuff, but that’s the case all over Europe.  Paris isn’t special in that respect.  Paris is, for want of a better word, a shithole.

Sorry France.3

London is all cobble streets and fog

I’ve touched on this before, but I’ve been asked this more than a handful of times.  Look at the description of Paris above and you’ve basically got London.  It’s pretty much the same, but not in French.  This is useful for understanding what’s being said about me by waiters and shop staff when I’m being overcharged for their lacklustre service.

The English all say things like ‘Tally ho’ , ‘Pip pip’ and ‘Guv’nor’

This is very true. Also, the French say “Sa·cré bleu!” a lot too, did you know that?

I’ve found that a lot of Americans say “Yee-Haw!!” and “Rootin’ Tootin’!!” all the time.

(rolls eyes until they hurt a bit)

British Food is terrible and bland

This is both wrong AND wrong.  In addition, it’s also wrong.

Firstly, it’s difficult to define ‘British food’ because Britain is actually made up of four countries/nations, each with their own foods and palettes.  I can’t speak for the other three countries, but I can speak for England.

Oh, did I mention that there is no understanding of the difference between England and Britain?  No?  Well, more of that in due course…

Anyway, back to the food.  There’s a belief that British food is bland and tasteless.  Ha ha ha ha WRONG!  Despite being a small(ish) island, Britain is located and influenced by all the European cuisine surrounding it, and it’s an international hub for commerce across the planet….so the food is AMAZING!  In fact there are more options and choices in the UK than I’ve found anywhere else, including the USA.

Aside from the traditional British foods like fish and chips, a full roast dinner, a proper ‘full English’ breakfast etc…we also have Indian, Italian, French, American (yes, we do burgers too), Greek, Turkish, Indian, Spanish, Japanese, African, Chinese, Thai, Indian, Polish, German, Blah, Blah, Blah……basically we have them ALL!

And yes, I meant to put ‘Indian’ in there more than once.  I LOVE Indian food and it has become the UK’s most favourite food!  Seriously, the national dish of the UK is Chicken tikka masala!

Mmmm, Chicken tikka masala….

And don’t even get me started on a good ol’ doner kebab!  It’s the most unhealthy and delicious food know to mankind.

Wait, no…that’s not right.  Let me try that again….

And don’t even get me started on a good ol’ doner kebab!  It’s the most unhealthy and delicious food know to drunk revellers outside the taxi rank after a night out on the piss.

No, it’s not a fucking ‘Gyro’

Now THAT’S British! (or Turkish actually)

America’s answer to post piss-up nosh?  McDonald’s.

Oh dear.

Europe is a country

Not only is this a belief (just like Africa), it’s surprising how many people I’ve spoken to who can’t point to Europe on a map, let alone the individual countries it consists of!

Besides, why bother learning about these countries when you can simply visit them at Epcot anyway?

(rolls eyes until they start bleeding slightly)

The UK, Great Britain and England are the same

I can understand why this is confusing, but even after I’ve explained it to one of my American friends, I can still see the lack of understanding behind their eyes.

Then again, it could be the huge doses of sugar and sodium in their diet.

(shrugs)

For clarity, here is a visual breakdown….

It’s like the United States, but with four states, not fifty.

Now, I’m sure this as clear as mud, but allow me to explain.

There are effectively four countries or ‘nations’ at play here.  England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.  The uncoloured area below Northern Ireland is, unsurprisingly, Southern Ireland (or ‘The Republic of Ireland’) and actually forms part of Europe.

Yes, they have Euros as currency.

Confused yet?

Well, the English occasionally refer to themselves as British, but the Scottish, Irish and Welsh don’t…..even though they are.  In the same way that people from Hawaii refuse to call themselves American…..even though they are.

So, when I’m told I have a British accent I do smile to myself as there is no such thing really….unless I include all four accents together:

“I say good sir, the laddie is just a wee bairn, to be sure, so it is boyo isn’t it?”

Hmmm….

And, whilst I’m on the subject of the the UK….here is how the Union Flag came to be:

This is why the flag in the muffin picture earlier was technically incorrect

We celebrate Thanksgiving and 4th July

I can’t begin to tell you how many times i’ve been asked if we celebrate these. Oh, wait….I already have!

And, for the record, we also have Hallowe’en4

However, we do not have the following holidays:

  • Labor Day (should be ‘Labour’, but hey, who am I to judge?)
  • Presidents Day
  • Martin Luther King Day
  • Memorial Day
  • Veteran’s Day
  • Columbus Day

Take a moment and ask yourselves why this is.  If you can’t answer that question, feel free to ask me about it and see what kind of answer you get.

One of the UK holiday days I miss a lot is Boxing Day, which is the day after Christmas Day (still also the 25th December).  In the US a few have started calling it DAXMAS (Day After XMAS), but it’s not an official  holiday day and serves no purpose other than…well….it’s the day after Christmas.

For us Brits (all four nations), Boxing Day is another Christmas Day and I love it!

“Why is it called Boxing Day?”

Why thank you for stepping in Wikipedia!

All the presents. All the food. All the booze.

 

1 – It’s a reoccurring joke on here, but seriously….when are these harpies going to fuck off and leave us in peace?

2 – I have NO idea why the USA have added an ‘H’ to this word, considering the way they usually hack letters OUT of words.

3 – Not really.  I hate Paris.

4 – It actually originated in the UK!  You’re welcome.