Tonight’s culinary disasters, and other tales from today

They say bad things come in threes, and that rings true with tonight’s culinary disasters.

Firstly, I cooked dinner. ‘What’s wrong with that?’, you may ask. The answer, mes amis, is that I already had dinner, ready, in the fridge, cooked up by Mama Crumbolina. Down my stomach went a wasted half hour and new potatoes that could have lived to boil another day.

My further two cooking disasters relate to tomorrow’s lunch. I should explain why I am making tomorrow’s lunch already; tomorrow is the day I start my first ever archaeological dig, and, having been informed by a lecturer that he puts on a stone every year due to his frequenting the local bakery during the four week dig, I have decided it is best to make my own food. My plan was to make a simple pasta salad -brown pasta, mozzarella, assorted bits of salad -wham, bam, thank you mam, whack it in a tupperware. But then I burnt the pasta. All I did was leave it unattended for a few minutes whilst I went to try on tomorrow’s outfit (khaki linen trousers, blue vest, checked shirt, straw trilby, walking boots, yellow hi-vis jacket), and by the time I returned, the water had evaporated and my poor pasta was stuck to the bottom of the pan, accompanied by some burnt-on pasta water.

Whilst putting on my second load of pasta (I gave up trying to rescue the first batch), I set about making the rest of the salad. Realising that I’d managed to buy THE muddiest lettuce known to man, I carefully washed it, and then proceeded to shake off the excess water. Down my lettuce leaves fell into the soapy washing up water in the sink. I did what any impoverished student would do, and scrubbed it a bit more, then chucked it into the salad. I think I got a bit over-eager with the contents of my salad (drizzled with freshly home made honey and mustard dressing) because now my tupperware box is heaving with contents, and I’ve had to secure it with three elastic bands and two plastic bags in the hope it won’t leak over my state-of-the-art-ergonomic-sixteen-pounds-if-you-please brand new trowel.

I am rather looking forward to the dig. Of course, this excitement will have worn off by Wednesday when a torrential downpour is predicted, but I shall cross that bridge when I come to it. Today we had to endure an extremely retro health and safety video, the highlight of which being an instruction about being careful with pronged geophysics equipment, “take care the probes don’t penetrate your foot, or anything else that might be regretable”!!! I will do my best.

The dig itself is at Berkeley Castle in Gloucestershire, and is being run by these merry men:

Mark Horton, who you may recognise from Coast. He is also responsible for Bonekickers. Enough said.

Stuart Prior (right). He may look hard, but he recently gave my essay a First, so he is in my good books. He is also the lecturer who warned us about the bakery!

We’ve been informed that tomorrow will be spent clearing nettles from the site. Now I realise why I brought my gardening gloves to uni! They certainly haven’t been used for gardening -I returned to halls after a weekend at home, to find that the water in a glass holding dead daffodils had turned green, and was congealing. Now the glass is soaking in a Fairy liquid/bleach/water mix, alongside the pan with the burnt-on pasta. This is but a small manifestation of how chaotic the inside of my head must be.

I better dash to get my beauty sleep, I have to leave halls at 8 o’clock tomorrow morning. I’m not sure how my body is going to react to doing this all day, every day for two weeks, combined with manual labour, and not getting home until six. Any plans I had to go out over the next fortnight are quickly evaporating.

I leave you with a link to ‘A History of the World: Jenner’s Marvellous Medicine’, a programme by Mark Horton, about Edward Jenner (the man who created the smallpox vaccine), who lived in Berkeley in the 18th Century, and whose garden we shall be digging up over the next two weeks.

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Filed under Archaeology, Blunders, Cooking

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