Perusing Hangover Cures

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I would wake in a mess of my own making, the cat regarding me with an extra dollop of its usual imperious disdain, suggesting last night’s return to the old homestead had been a tad catastrophic. Which was hastily verified by the flatmate, who glowered at me more than somewhat before hissing from behind clenched teeth, “good morning rat.” This was a right dampener, for she normally called me ‘mouse’ (a good thing).

Time to repair to the corner shop and lick my wounds… while perusing hangover cures.

All day breakfast in a tin: an ingenious amalgam of flaccid chipolata sausages, tiny sawdusty scotch eggs, cubes of slippery black pudding, pallid potato cubes and slivers of streaky bacon which have never been on the same planet as a pig. A few mushy beans rounded of the ensemble.

At the till, I rubbed my hands together and said to the girl behind the counter, “just the job!”

The frosty reception back at Chez Not Welcome was no hindrance here as this dish is best eaten cold preferably straight from the can, using the lid as a rudimentary spoon. N.B. Watch out for sharp edges.

As all that had gone before in the “bad books stakes” was a fairly regular ritual back then, it was handy that the shop stocked many variations on the same theme from the company, whose bizarre genius and messianic mission to fill students with stodge before going on the lash, deserved some kind of recognition from the government of the day.

There was Omelette in a Can; omelette (think disposable nappies), chips (imagine white slugs) and the ever present beans (thinks slim pickings) along with a positive Brexit of other options Belfast Breakfast, London Grill and All Day Breakfast – the Scots and the Welsh were probably, even back then, eyeing their protected food name status and ability to return to the EU.

Because I worked part-time as a chef, variation and ingenuity was never far away. If the previous night had not been over zealous, anything could be gussied up, and actually heated:

Heinz ravioli parcels wrapped individually in sandwich ham and topped with a dollop of boursin cheese then blistered under a fierce grill.

The same brand’s spaghetti bolognaise on toast topped with slabs of rubbery orange cheddar treated the same way, yum, hangover heaven.

“Orange cheddar nice and cheesy.” As the Merry Mac Fun Show used to chorus back in the 1980s (look ‘em up).

Let us now praise all involved at long gone Yumble Dumbles sandwich shop on Dundas Street for inventing the legendary Sair Finger, which necessitated a whole banquette slathered from head to toe with corn beef hash/stovies, given extra ballast by the addition of a ruler sized smoked sausage topped of with battered onion rings. The whole gaining some textural variation, and no little moisture, due to the ladle of green curry sauce that completed the dish.

N.B. My Yorkshire chum back then would accompany this with skooshes of strawberry Angel Delight sooked straight from the can. Class act.

Whither, indeed, the hangover grub of yesteryear? Gone, all gone…

Victims of high cholesterol and your Doctor’s (via Face Time) good sense and humanity: “I know it’s not fair to ask you to stop drinking, heaven forfend, but I must ask you to have a hard think about the types of food you consume.” Not too shabby.

Indeed my latest attempt at a cookery book has been optioned by a reputable publisher, the working title is Cooking without Food. ■

The working title of my upcoming cookbook is, Cooking without Food

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