5 April 2022

Recipe for success: simply make a meal of comfort food

| Sally Hopman
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custard tart

Simply a cut above the rest when it comes to comfort food, the classic custard tart. Photo: File.

If we are what we eat, I’d like to be a custard tart. Tart? Duh. Custard? Because it’s such comfortable food.

A woman I once worked with was called The Lentil because, well, she looked like one. She also ate them with everything. Except perhaps not custard tarts – not that she’d ever let something pass her lips. It had to be raw, preferably red – they go down your gullet faster – and would never have come within cooee of non-organic-ness. She’d come to work with her environmentally/ergonomically-sound non-plastic container, with the picture of a freedom fighter on it. No I’m not bitter, although I’ll bet her lunch was.

Like a good apple, people seem to be divided into halves when it comes to what they eat. Region Media myth has it that one employee regularly eats a chook for lunch. The whole chook, everything but the feathers, mainly because it doesn’t come with feathers.

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At other workplaces, I remember colleagues who ate nothing every second Thursday on a full moon during a leap year or, if they decided to splurge, two bits of crispy cardboard decorated with dry grass, or at least that’s what it looked like. For me, it’s whatever the office dogs prefer, so I usually have bones.

In real life, movies and my dreams, it’s amazing to see how people react to food. What they allow down their throat, what must stay on the plate, what will never grace their kitchens. I’m of the school that ovens are best placed to store knitwear and, judging by the number of new homes in the city that don’t even have kitchens, I’m not alone. Cold, without said knitwear, but not alone.

I love the idea of just calling up dinner. Having something hot and fabulous delivered to your door that you don’t have to cook. Only problem is that more time will probably be given to how it looks on the plate than what it tastes like. Smears are big apparently, ideally on the plate. Bits of carrot julienned to within an inch of their lives, slivers of white meat that look like a lazy person’s fingers and where carb is a four-letter word.

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But you can dial up just about anything. Food from places where you thought there were only loaves and fishes – and never as many as them as you’d like – on the menu.

Problem is that when you live in the bush, the only thing that comes when you call for dinner is still alive. Usually lambs with a death wish.

But it offers a good excuse as to why your dinner for guests is not as splendid as they might expect. It’s not like you can just nick into town to buy something that’s going to make whatever you make taste like what it was supposed to taste like in the first place. If your chook tastes like tuna, or vice versa, blame it on the rain. That always works on the (b)land.

As we come to the end, let’s finish up with – you guessed it – dessert. Custard tarts, of course. One of those sickly yellow ones with a soggy crust. Thank you but no to the Portuguese variety, they always look too fired up (read burnt) that they’d play havoc with your digestion.


Original Article published by Sally Hopman on Riotact.

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Sylvia Bryant10:45 pm 05 Apr 22

Fabulous story of reality in the bush, made me laugh with pride!

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