Thursday, 14 September 2017

Natte Onderkant

1. Fatigué de Vivre

Flicking through Le Soir, the Belgian paper, on the lookout for some hidden nugget of Belgiania that I can fashion into a hilarious/fascinating pitch or spurious Belgian life philosophy to repackage for coffee table consumption à la hygge/ikigai, I note the following:
 - 5 hideous grisly and depressing murders (yes all murder is bad but these ones were particularly dreadful)
- several sinkholes
- Ghastly racist ministers Theo Francken and Jan Jambon being themselves
- "7 out of 10 Belgians in favour of euthanasia for people who are 'tired of life'"

I am not sure Belgium is ready for its hygge moment.

2. The Naming of the Pekins

The chicks have now survived 6 weeks and doubled in size and sass, so I think I can finally give them names. The one on my shoulder on the last post is slightly shyer, lighter and paler. Her friend is fearless and fat and darker and has taken to chasing away the pigeons and crows that have the effrontery to try and eat her food. Here they both are up to no good:

Any ideas?

3. Hou je klaar en bakken maar

Dutch class starts again next week and I have been preparing by watching THE FLANDERS BAKE OFF. Characteristics of the Flanders Bake Off:
- Host is a single fat jolly bloke who tells a lot of jokes. I like him.
- Judges: one rather po-faced pâtissier who is very strict and Regula Ysewyn who is a vision of vintage splendour, but also rather strict.
- Contestants: the usual mix. Quite blokey. Their older lady has lasted longer than the British one. There is a nice Columbian man who sometimes wears a hat. There is also one young woman whose every second phrase is in English and I find it disproportionately annoying.
- Key phrases:
"spannend"  = tense, used by all candidates all the time, esp during the spektakelstuk.
"ik ben benieuwd"  = I am curious, used by judges when contestants suggest some outlandish flavour or technique, basically the equivalent of that stare Paul Hollywood does.
"natte onderkant" = soggy bottom

I am wondering how to work these into Dutch class.

4. Home Baking to Prove to Myself I Am Not A Deadbeat: A Journal of Failure, Fatness and Diminishing Returns

Day 1
Make a 29 minute chocolate cake (Twitter rec).

Looks pretty good. Tastes great. Children come home.
E: Look! I made a chocolate cake.
F (humouring voice): That's nice!
Eats a small slice then quietly goes and gets some biscuits out of the cupboard.
L: I'm not hungry
Eats crisps for rest of day.
I eat the rest of the cake.

Day 2: 
Make Mary Berry's fast jam buns.

"I asked a 12-year-old girl to try this recipe for me," says MB, who doesn't give a shit about my attempts to make myself feel less of a deadbeat. "She had no problems and thoroughly enjoyed herself." Mine come out slightly too salty and quite unattractive and are nothing like the jam buns of my childhood.
Children come home.
E: There's these ... jam things?
F: Just goes silently straight to the biscuit cupboard
L: Ooh!
Eats one. Never mentions again. Spouse eats one. Never mentions again. I eat 4 more - they are edible when warmed - then give the rest to the birds. 

Day 3
Make chocolate chip Chelsea buns (because my family are awful and hate spice and dried fruit).

Children come home.
E: I made some of those chocolate bun things?
F: Oh, right.
Eats one, eats peanuts for remainder of day
L: I'm not hungry
L: Are there any biscuits?
E: There are these chocolate chip buns I made!
L: Not those
I freeze the buns, sadly. 

Day 4 (today)

I made cinnamon buns which no one likes but me. Fuck everything.

No, there is no pearl sugar or glaze or icing on the top because I PREFER THEM WITHOUT and they are MY BUNS.

5. Reading 

I set myself a target of no despair before midday and have failed at it today BUT I have updated the reading page for July. July was long ago so the descriptions are ... brief?


Marion said...

Love the July list. Maybe forgetting part of the books makes it more obvious what's really special about them? Or something.

Anna Maria said...

I am so grateful my spouse and child both love spices and dried fruit. But I don't like icing, either.
I was going to recommend Standard Deviation to you, as I thought you'd enjoy it. I finished it two days ago, feeling that it had filled Nora Ephron-shaped hole in my life. Heiny is v.good on parenting a boy on the spectrum: I'd often chuckle knowingly. I am totally Graham, too.

M. said...

Oh my god.
The hens are US.

InvisibleWoman said...

I suppose Thelma and Louise would be too obvious? I would eat all of those cakes, too.

CJ said...

You have cheered me up tremendously in a week where I have accomplished absolutely nothing. Every day I leap out of bed ready to tackle the mountain of writing I have to do, but every day I am waylaid by various disasters. Tomorrow is the day. Isn't it disappointing when offspring don't like home baking. Honestly, the glee with which mine greet a cheap packet of supermarket crumpets has to be seen to be believed. But what about the homemade carrot cake? We had guinea pigs called Lulu and Mrs Armitage, very good names at the time I believe and you are welcome to them now they are no longer being used (names not pigs).

anapestic said...

Your children sound like ... teenagers. If you can't ship them off to a monastery, then perhaps take some comfort that they'll be human again in five to seven years.

But, really: monastery.

[Off topic: how do I really know that I'm not a robot? I have been checking the box, but there might be room for doubt.]

Unknown said...

Ena Sharples and Minnie Caldwell for the pekins.

Ellie said...

Mel and Sue?

carolinefo said...

After many years of reading your observations on The Strangeness (and not in a good way) That Is Belgium, the idea of Belgian Hygge actually made me laugh out loud.
It seems to me that David Lynch is spiritually Belgian.

You could do the Belgian Anti-Hygge, though...

Agree totally with you about Manon Whatsit. I even bought the second book in hardback as soon as it came out.

You've probably mentioned this on a previous book-list, but have you read 'Before the Fall' by Noah Hawley? I absolutely loved it.. so much so that I raved about it to my best friend, who went off to Waterstone's, got slightly confused, and and came back with a book called 'After the Crash'. That also made me burst out laughing.

Beatrix said...

Itchie & Scratchie.

Carla P said...

I wondered where you were going with "Natte Onderkant" too funny. I am obsessed with the Great British Baking show, so am very interested in watching the Dutch version? Do you recommend? I am an "empty nester" and no longer bake! Period! On the rare occasion that I do, I don't bother plating anything, just grab a fork and go..... I am excited to delve into some of your reading list, but a lot of the books seem to be about children disappearing. Are you trying to tell us something?
I am currently reading Hillbilly Elegy and would love it if we had a book club discuss later among those who want to participate. So far, I am not really enjoying it all that much. Can't quite put my finger on why. My husband and I recently returned from a road trip where we traveled from southern Washington coast, down to southern Oregon coast. Beautiful country and endless beaches for dog walking with minimal human interaction. However, my point finally, some of the small towns we visited along the way had a very similar population as J D describes in his book. I wonder if that is just an unfortunate phenomenon across small town America?

Lucy and Ethel. Ginger and MaryAnne.

I have stopped naming my chickens, because I have no imagination and I get less attached if it's just blackie and whitey. But, I did have one (RIP) hen that I named Hyacinth because she insisted on laying her eggs in an overturned bucket. My two humongous Sagitta hens were big Bertha and Behemoth .

Cait Mellow said...

Surely Regula Ysewyn is in Game of Thrones as some sort of high priestess? One with a poisonous insect familiar of some sort?

Chickens: Althea and Donna?

The London Artphile said...

Chicken naming - Velma and Daphne of Scooby Doo fame? Although was Velma actually fatter than Daphne or did it just seem that way due to her being shorter and always in that orange chunky-knit turtleneck.

Kate O'Dea said...

I had the misfortune to spend 2 hours in Bruxelles Midi yesterday. There probably are worse stations in the world to hang around in but I don't know where. Signs ask that you "signaler quelque chose suspect" but as every third person looked like a madman or a potential murderer it's hard to know where to start. I particularly liked the african guy walking around in a leopard print blanket as if he had strayed out of "before they are gone". :)

Waffle said...

CFo - This has so made me laugh. I loved After the Fall! Also, I have read "After the Crash" too and it is the biggest heap of shite imaginable.

Cait - Yes. It's an amazing name. Definite priestess material.

Kate - how dare you (you are 100% right). Also, you sound like Baudelaire talking about Brussels, so that makes you extra-classy.

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