I hope switching to QVC the home shopping channel every time I turn on the television isn’t habit forming; I started this routine just over a week ago. They say it takes anywhere from 2 to 8 months to introduce a new behaviour to your life through repetition; when the new behaviour becomes automatic you have a new habit. I don’t switch the channel to QVC for online shopping, I just want to understand the popularity of David Venable. Dave hosts his twice a week show, In the Kitchen With David; and you can find him at other times selling anything from electric razors to FrostGuard windscreen and wiper covers. But Dave is more at home selling egg poachers, frozen crab cakes, backyard smokers, silicone crisping mats, ceramic bakers with lids, and crumb cake assortments. At the start of every show Dave shares one of his delicious recipes with all of his kitchen foodies out there.
And I impulsively raise my arms, and even though I stay seated on the couch I dance along with Dave whenever I hear: it’s time for a happy dance. It’s the ultimate compliment that Dave can bestow on a product. In the Kitchen With David gets thousands of phone calls from his foodie fans from all over the country; all of them hoping for a chance to speak with Dave. I still don’t understand the popularity of David Venable.
Last Sunday I turned on the television, and switched the channel to QVC. Before the picture stabilised I heard Meredith Laurence proclaiming: after performing double duty as either a colander or steamer, both the large and small strainers conveniently collapse for compact, easy storage; maximise your kitchen storage space with this set of two silicone strainers. And when the picture appeared Meredith’s hands were a blur, as she demonstrated to Dave how the colanders expanded from flat to full size; it was if she was playing the accordion in a polka band. I fixated on the squashed, compressed, flat colander and mulled over the predicament that Pastafarians would now be faced with.
Bobby Henderson first documented the philosophies and central beliefs of the church of The Flying Spaghetti Monster:
I was just a young lad, entering my teenager years, when Errol Flynn set sail for the big pirate island in the sky. Australian males admired Errol as a great bloke, and a shinning example of Aussie swashbuckling manhood; both on and off the screen. And he was the role model that all youngsters wanted to become.
Captain Blood was the breakout performances for Errol, and his future movie career would be threaded with action packed pirate blockbusters. Errol was the greatest Australian pirate of all times. And we still wonder if the passing of the Pirate from Down Under precipitated a series of slow climate changes that caused a difference in the weather patterns Down Under. Over the years, summer weather in Melbourne has become unpredictable. The November of 2017 produced the coldest start to a November in 20 plus years, and presented the longest November heatwave in more than 150 years. In early December the city was predicted to be lashed with heavy rains and unprecedented thunderstorms.
The apocalyptic weather predicted for Melbourne didn’t come to pass, but severe thunderstorms did drench the city for two consecutive nights; the city received it’s total December rains. Fear of the damage to be caused by the torrential rains and floods was instilled in most Melburnians by the Bureau of Meteorology and the State’s dramatic weather warnings. It was mid to late Saturday morning when my brother turned the Hyundi mini bus into the Altona Bunnings Wharehouse. Friday night’s rain had eased and the morning was overcast; I was expecting to see a crowd of Bunnings Sausage Sizzler aficionados. Similar to all Bunning Warehouses, Bunnings Altona hosts a sizzle every Saturday and Sunday. The sizzle serves as a fund raiser and is run by local charities, sports clubs, and other community organisations. Sizzles start around mid morning, and last until the snags are gone. On this Saturday the Altona Bunnings Sausage Sizzle was nowhere to be seen.
The key cutting counter was by the front door. I picked out a hot pink purple aluminium domestic house key blank for my new key. As the sound of the key cutting machine started I shouted out to the key cutting lady:
Me: Where’s the sizzle?
Forget that North Korea was threatening to bomb the world; I was stumbling around until Monday morning trying to understand why a Bunnings Sausage Sizzle was cancelled because of rain. I was experiencing char-grilled snag withdrawal. I aimlessly walked the streets thinking only of caramelised onions, lashings of tomato sauce, sliced soft white bread, and barbecued snags. The sun was announcing the end to the predicted apocalyptic weather by seeping through the last of the thin clouds. As the sky cleared and became a brilliant blue I realised my salvation, I would have my own sizzle.
We were staying in a airbnb that had an outdoor Weber barbecue. The Coles Supermarket was close by. With a packet of Coles classic all Australian beef sausages, a loaf of sliced white bread, and a plastic bottle of tomato sauce I walked jauntily, with a skip in my step, to my home away from home to fire up the Weber. At the start I committed one of the cardinal sins of good sizzling; I constantly prodded and turned the snags until my anxiousness was replaced by the long lost subtlety of barbecuing the banger. I looked down at the Weber grill rack; 10 of the little beauties just sizzling away. Nothing would dampen my sausage sizzle.
I wrapped 2 of the chargrilled snags in their own slice of buttered white bread, and smothered each of them with tomato sauce. My lips quivered as I raised a sizzle to my mouth. And I remembered you don’t eat a sizzle from the side, you eat it from one of the ends; I bit down. The sausage juices melted the butter, and they mixed with the tomato sauce and soaked into the white bread, and I heard: it’s time for a happy dance. I impulsively raised my hands, and the sizzle was thrust into the air.
My eyes were closed, and I was a picture of bliss until I was stopped in mid chew; I bit down on a small hard object. I emptied my mouth of chewed sizzle, the slurry of white bread, sauce and butter, and let my tongue fish around the inside of my mouth until it found the small hard object I had bitten down on. Because it looked like a piece of tooth I let my curious tongue probe my teeth and look for a jagged void. I removed my one tooth partial denture, and my inquisitive tongue found a jagged rough edge on the outer side of one of the teeth that holds the metal clasp of the partial denture. I had found the home of the broken piece of tooth. I pushed the partial denture back between it’s teeth, and took another bite of the sizzle; and I thought, there’s nothing that should stop a good sizzle. I knew the tooth had to stay; it was an anchor to the partial denture. That meant a crown to repair and strengthen it.
The next morning I waited for the pain to start, and by the next day it still hadn’t started. It was a couple of days before I would be back in the US, and I though if I zeroed in on soft foods then maybe I could ride out the pain of the jagged void. I ate meat pies, fish and chips, milk soaked corn flakes, sausage rolls, lamingtons, and vanilla slices. The night before leaving I warded off any potential gum infection and pain with several sips of ice cold Melbourne Bitter.
I slept the first day back in the US. The next morning the backrest of the dental chair was lowered and I was in a reclining position. I had the one tooth partial denture in my hand and was mindlessly pushing one of the sharp ends of the clasp under the finger nail of my thumb. I told the whole sizzle saga to my dentist; the mirror and pick were in my mouth, and he was exploring the jagged void.
Dentist: I don’t see a chipped tooth; the edge is a little rough, I could smooth it out a bit but I don’t want to take much off because it anchors the partial
I slid my legs onto the floor and sat on the edge of the dental chair trying to figure it all out. If a pirate’s life is months on end sailing the high seas, plundering, pillaging and looting, and winds are buffeting their galleon, and mountains of angry waves are keeping the decks awash with salty water, and if they can only trade for fresh food when they land then the food has to become mouldy and rotten because they don’t have fridges or freezers; so they would get sick and their teeth would fallout out, and without teeth it would be hard for them to eat a sausage sizzle.
I think I will celebrate the next International Talk Like a Pirate Day by asking people over for a sausage sizzle in the back yard.