Friday, March 13, 2009

Finger Lickin' Brilliance from Dazzling Darryl

There are many reasons why it's great to be unemployed. Staying in bed 'til 1pm, a distinct lack of business targets and all the time in the World to make pies and beer are just a few. There are however, a couple of tricky aspects. One is that aloof sense of financial doom and worthlessness, and another is that it's dangerously possible to drink wine and/or a martini for breakfast when your boss nor your missus is not there to piss on your chips and put an end to the fun. While a couple of high profile projects (the generation of spectacular homebrew, building a bar downstairs) have kept me busy and out of the liquor cabinet for a few hours, there are moments when only booze will slake this bloke's rampant thirst. Especially first thing in the morning....I mean, it's after 1pm...

Last Thursday was a boozy day from start to finish, and Darryl's turn on the pots and pans for the group. Thank Goodness he fancied a truly gargantuan southern feast, because when I arrived at his place (late, half in the bag, reeking of ale) I was hungry like the wolf. (Cue Duran Duran.)
The big man thrust a glass of champagne in my hand upon arrival and I popped my wine in his fridge and sat and fidgeted until feeding time. I desperately needed something absorbent, something with a different nutritional profile than a cocktail. My prayers were answered when he dragged a huge dish loaded with pasta into the dining room. What a sight for pissed eyes! Perfectly cooked macaroni freckled with bacon in a lava-like cheese sauce, lovingly adorned with sweet chunks of roasted butternut squash. Silky, sweet, toothsome, so memorable, so easy. So this is soul food? Because it satisfies the soul, yes? It satisfied mine for sure. I was careful not to carbo-load on the first course.I could detect the faint whiff of frying oil in the air. Darryl knows his way around spice-crusted chicken and a wire basket. He loaded up his Fry Daddy with his own recipe (he keeps it in a locked deposit box at the bank, just like the Colonel) and the oil began to bubble. The result was the most succulent and delicious fried chicken I've ever had. Soft moist and yielding meat juxtaposed a serious crunch and delicate, sweet heat from Mr Big's special coating. I could have eaten this shit all night, but out came waffles. The Americans immediately grabbed for the maple syrup. Some went crazy, covering everything on their plate with sugar, others just dribbled a bit on the waffles. I passed. What is it about this country and its need to put sugar in or on everything? I guess I will never understand. In England it's a bit of a joke. I covered my own waffles with fried chicken and a mound of collard greens laced with bacon and a fabulous edamame succotash. How could it possibly be more delicious? Who the frick needs sweetener, especially when everybody knew the next course would be perhaps the most calorific dessert ever?While the conversation skittered around the Middle East question, accidents involving cooking pots and throats, nails in skulls and other bizarre topics, Big D presented his final masterpiece - A classic bread pudding mined with raisins and a vat of vanilla bourbon pouring sauce. I thought I was stuffed until I started eating dessert. Somehow, my stomach instantly doubled in size and I was able to put away, like, three portions! Everybody called me a fat bastard, but I didn't care. I told myself to just keep eating, you may never have anything this good and boozy for dessert ever again...

A fitting end to a boozy beginning.

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