with Botham Squab

Home Defence UK
A Symptom of a Greater Malaise
The Global Crisis In 
Is This The End for Foodie?

“Are people still moaning about the price 
of bacon?"
The Duke of Edinburgh, ‘The Lady’ June 12, 2008

Life, right now, is not so good for a misunderstood chef to the stars. 
Doom has arrived at the kitchen door and it is coming in, not leaving. 

My dining room is empty of diners. 

The high society dinner party calendar is as moribund as Rob Lowe’s late 80s career, post-paedo sex
tape scandal.

The cost of buying food is rising faster than Gordon Ramsay’s voice-noise when an opinion is about to
rush out.

My brief yet openly trans-sexual affair with Norwich born, major cake baker, Delia Sith, is regrettably out in the open. The reason? 

What can I say? If you meet her in person, man. It’s her presence. She has some kind of pull on a hot-bloodied 
male, straight out of a heated, stressful kitchen. Like a stray dog to an overturned bin. She smells of freshly 
baked croissants, straight out the oven of a rural Northern French boulangerie. It’s her cassoulet. And she’s 
generally tanked on the vino and up for it. Why wouldn’t you plough her? 


…Oh, the Food Crisis, right.

This is all about Rice and Terror. 
(not rice and peas – that would be racist) 

Now that problem, the food crisis problem, is two fold.

1. The Rice Issue 
This is despite what your eyes might tell you surveying a supermarket aisle, full to the brim with packets of mass-produced, dried carbohydrate staples. Or when your patience leaves you in the queue as yet another old dear waits until her shopping has collated at the bottom of the till untagged, before commencing the slow rummage for her loose change-filled purse. Problems are not obviously afoot in the world of commercial sustenance. You still have to fight tooth and nail round a busy, busy, busy, 
supermarket for the weekly shop and have no problem picking up a small bag of the old basmati – job done. 
If you live in South-West London you may even find yourself having to avoid a case of mistaken identity and 
a beating unto death by an imbecile, while his girlfriend eggs him on because she says it was you that 
‘eyeballed’ her funny. The phrase “up from Croydon” applies.

But underneath this gloss finish exterior, underneath all the unrestricted gambling machines on sale and 
cheap booze deals, trouble is brewing. Previously beheld as basic foodstuffs, the staple of Italian, Indian and South East Asian peasants has leapfrogged the big hitting, haute cuisine ingredients of choice in the ‘what money can buy you these days’ stakes. The truffle is now a reasonable alternative to a pound of flour, a sorry looking Lobster who has seen better times cheaper than a lonely, endangered cod.  Like an alchemist's wet dream, the humble grain of rice is turning gold. 

What's the problem here? The benchmark has risen. The Russian potato aside has become more powerful than the Dutch Prime Rib centrepiece. In short, if we track this down to its natural core: There isn’t enough boring food to go round anymore. 

Some bugger’s eating it all.

In capitalist China the emerging, urban dwelling, upwardly mobile population are unsure of what to do with an income
higher than the pittance they’ve been used to all these years. Tired and hungry from erecting up to four sky-scraping
office blocks a day, they return home, loaded with as much rice as they can carry, chowing it down off newly
purchased gold-edged plates from Habitat. Across the neighbouring new-skool continent in India, we find much the
same: “Eat all the fucking rice now man, before this good stuff ends and someone turns up to take it away!” 
Who can blame them? 

There’s a wider distribution of cash now. Indeed, more than a couple of people in the entire country have a disposable income these days. But they're buying up the rice like it's the only thing they know how to purge on. Why not try some cereal now you can afford it? How about jam, or a nice home-made pie? Maybe clothes you don’t need, or waste your money on a DVD collection you’ll never watch. Given time these folk will catch up, don’t worry. 

The Italians, never ones to miss a trick, have got wind of the staple carbohydrate explosion and jumped on 
backwards, as always, in the hope of cashing in. Result: The pasta price is going through the roof. No doubt 
Burlesconi has the patent and he owns all the pasta, or at least the copyright on all the shapes. Spaghetti 
hoops? You bet your arse. Twice the fucking price they were two weeks ago. 

Consumerism is all about choice but I’ll not go value ‘own-brand’ man. As a chef of conviction, I would rather starve slowly whilst watching Italy’s lone forward, Luca Toni, making endless failed attempts to put a football between the goalposts, than join the social
underachievers last seen during the great baked bean wars of the mid-nineties, filling their garages with
crates of 4p a tin, beans in tomato water. Crates which are no doubt still there, keeping the car out on the
drive where it can rust under a globally-warmed sun.

Even lettuce is going for a song down the market these days. WHY? Well, they teach it in low-scoring
inner city state schools. It’s like, economics, innit? If the price of yer basics rise, then everything else rises
alongside it don’t they, relatively speaking? Simple economics my friend, simple economics.

2. The Terror Issue
On May 22nd 2008 inside a Giraffe restaurant in the historic(ally bad) cathedral 
city-village  of Exeter, twenty two year old simpleton Nicky Reilly inflicted a 
devastating nail bomb attack on his own face in the privacy of the gents’ loos. 
Nicky was courted, groomed, brainwashed and primed for martyrdom in a 
Plymouth chip shop by Muslims who don’t much like non-Muslims. We all 
know one, it’s a fact of modern life. 

Still, an odd arena to hunt out the wood-be human bomb-vessel one might say. 
Odd or just plain ridiculous? My previous thoughts and musings on the direct 
correlation between lowering the standard of your holy warrior training facility 
from God-camp in Afghan Hill to a long weekend of canoeing and hiking at a 
Welsh beauty spot, before launching a farcically bad attempt at a terror attack, 
is well-documented on Home Defence.  However, the situation appears to have 
reached a new and very Devon-esque low. Will they ever learn? In all seriousness, let’s hope not. A competent, well-trained, non-West Country bomber is, of course, a very dangerous one.

Moreover, for the first time since individuals with a certain religious view took such umbrage with the
western world they sought to pop a proverbial cap in our arse, a clear link has been established between
global terrorism and food. 

Or, in the case of the Giraffe restaurant face-blast, ‘global food’ and terrorism.

Hang on. 

Seriously… Nicky mate, what the fuck were you thinking in that wrong little brain of yours? The bad Allah-men 
brainwashed you at your local chippie every day as you waited patiently for your regular order of battered 
burger, chips and a pickled egg. Was it open or wrapped son? That’s what’s on my mind right now. Read 
it back to yourself. Go on. Read it, read it.

Here me now. 

What happened to all the competent suicide bombers eh? Oh. Well, yes. A successful suicide bomber with the
big match temperament, a ‘performer’ shall we say, is most probably a dead one. Mr. Attah will be turning,
bethroned in his own personal nirvana, surrounded by those 70-odd virgins he acquired for himself at the sight of
this latest batch of home-grown soldiers for Mohammed. Are they watching old videos of the Benny Hill Show, or
Russ Abbot’s Saturday Madhouse, in order to gain tips for their next ‘spectacular’? 

And, wait. One second. Can I just go back? Those 70  virgins? Really? “Virgins”? I mean, if you’re going to go to
the trouble of heightened personal sacrifice, commit such destruction and induce wild fear by taking as many innocent bystanders as you can with you, towards an Islamoramic pleasure zone after-world, wouldn’t you rather have 70 women with a bit of – you know – experience under their belts?  Girls that know a few tricks man. Eternity is a long time, by definition it is. Think about it.

Unless you favour ploughing those that don’t know their highway code as well as they could, as it were? That’s it isn’t it? All this blowing yourself, ahem, up, is really about worrying the old fella’s not up to scratch! This is common in angry young men you know, and very dangerous in angry young men within the religious-political vehicle. See how the Essex boys do it instead. By and large they only injure themselves and each other while humiliating their families. That’s a much safer option to consider. Give it a think, invest some time. At the very least, taking that route, the chances are you’ll grow out of it alive and without mass murder ‘issues’ hanging over your name. Put that in your think tank and see if it does the doggy paddle, eh? Come back to me if it swims won’t you?

But yes, the big players that were, twin towers Mohammed Attah's team and the 7/7 tube bombers, are none too pleased are they, Nicky Reilly? Well done. You’re the most farcical home nation bomber to date. Leap frogging last year's 
car bomb attacks in central London that culminated in a spectacular strike on a roadside waste bin in an 
erratically driven, slow-speed car. A dual pronged atrocity flouted by the city’s brave, as well as surprisingly 
efficient, traffic enforcement system and a handful of nightclub bouncers. Nicky, you’ve pipped to the post 
that unfortunate soldier of faith who drove head-first into a glass door at a Scottish airport, only to set fire 
to himself and get severely banjo’d by an enraged postman: “Welcome to Glazgee son, will be ‘avin nowt 
o' that Corr-ahn bleetin’ shite roond here yer daft coont.”

So Nicky Reilly, all you’ve done is induce further suspicion in the food world from honest upstanding members of
society who're falling dramatically into the depths of an economical and gastronomic recession. The situation
is akin to nothing we’ve seen since the seventies. We’ll all be into cooked liver and onions, cheese and
pineapple on a stick and boiled potatoes in a can before we know it. Fear is expensive.

You’ve been told Nicky Reilly.

Failing to destroy:
(a) Giraffe café, if only for it’s principal strap line of ‘Global Food &…<shudder> ‘…World Music’
(b) Exeter – because it is a town so unimaginably average.

This is unforgivable.

This conversation is now air.

Terror and rice my friends.

If you buy anything make sure you buy lots of it, in a state of incipient panic.

Heinz products are next, so stock up on them now

Test your eggs in water before cooking them. If they float they are the eggs of lucifer. If they sink quickly they’re over four months old
and have gone off.

Plant cress in your carpet. You can walk on it comfortably and use the crop for salads or as a general
garnish. It also stays clean longer than the standard pile.

Avoid traditional British takeaway premises with an Islamic bookshop attached.

Never share a sexual adventure, however short-lived, with TV’s leading MILF chef Delia Sith. Even if she 
does try to manipulate you into her dark side by telling you she’s your father.

That is all.

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