Country Pile Up
Look. I love the UK. I’ll love it even more when you lose Scotland then reinvade, and it ends up like Braveheart but with air support (note to assistant: secure rights to Braveheart 2 – Afterburner). But you guys are not at the cutting edge of what the architects of consumerism have labelled ‘quality of life.’ Great rock music? Sure. Hilarious comedy? I laughed and laughed until Russell Brand came on. But when the polite applause dies down all you’re left with is tough, brown meat stuck between your gappy, yellow teeth. In a cold house. Hey, don’t shoot the messenger.
So look, lemme throw my English chums a bone. I was recently invited to a charity soiree thrown at one of your stately homes, a huge ‘pile’ in Oxfordshire. My date, a London gal about town, tells me it’s called Aynhoe Park. Her friends all wanna be film producers since your nasty coalition shut down the UK Film Council and got taxpayers to fund the banks instead. Would I like to meet? Sure. The house’s owner, a property mogul and club promoter named James Perkins, is hosting a supper club for moneyed pals. And who’s he getting to do the nosh? Only Heston Friggin Blumenthal! Him with the cockamamy ice cream squirrel or whatever. Hey, it can’t be worse than your Marmite. I’ll cope. Sa-MARN-tha – I got the accent down, right? – tells me that James is like some Regency prince up there, indulging in masked balls and fancy dress parties. A world-class host. I totally assume that tonight will be Eye’s Wide Shut-style frolicking, so I get a full wax done for the occasion. I love you Brit perverts!
We sweep through the gates. The imposing Georgian front is lit up, salaciously, in a deep red glow. My mask and robe rustle in my bag. “Not long now, my pretties…” I’m scanning the double-height sash windows to see anyone warming up but I’m dragged inside too quick. G-zuz! This is more like a Monty Python sketch than an Englishman’s castle. Sur-rrreeal. Somewhere a taxidermist can now afford a second home. Stuffed polar bears and lions wearing crowns, unicorns, ravens, not to mention fossils, statues and a Hogwarts-style library (note to assistant: we REALLY need a stuffed bison for the office).
I eye a gorgeous leather chaise lounge. I imagine I’ll set my mojo free there, later. But I want one go on the polar bear’s back, too. Led into the Orangery, I’m offered a roll of £50 notes on a silver platter. Another crazy Brit thing? You’re paying ME to schtup your wife now? No. It’s just nibbles. Heston has perfected edible money, made from seaweed and sashimi. Chewy, but delicious. In a few months, given the world economy, you’ll all be left eating the real thing, but until then how about washing it down with scoops of nutritious frozen cocktails? Fabulous.
We all sit at appointed dining tables schmooze. Heston announces each dish, like a director at a screening. Except he doesn’t thank his wife and kids, thank G-d. Aynhoe’s kitchen is filled beyond capacity by Blumenthal’s brigade of 20 culinary Oompa Loompas. And they don’t disappoint. The meat fruit is chopped liver in the shape of a tangerine. Who knew? The snail porridge is essentially a risotto as good as any I’ve had. The exercise in synaesthesia (look it up) that is Sound of the Sea – a schmultz herring-style sushi with which you listen to an MP3 of the sea to enhance the fishy seaness of it – blows my mind. And on and on for another three courses, paired with six sexsational wines. At this rate everyone will be too stuffed to climb all over one another while a sinister piano motif plays. Maybe there’s a vomitorium.
I chat to Chef Blumenthal who explains how he has never cooked outside his restaurant kitchen and probably never will again. This is a glorious one-off, all for charity. He explains how he mastered the perfect British ‘chip’. I respond, “yeah, cool, so which hot piece are you gonna tap tonight, Chuck?”
“Er… well, I’ve never used taps to insert hot fat. I inject it.” I slap him on the back. “I bet you do, too, you stud!” He looks confused and a little hurt. So shy. It’s all under the surface with you guys.
Anyway, I got it wrong about the orgy. I can explain the naked masked robe thing as an Ivy League custom of gratitude, so I’ll be let back in to Britain in 2030. I’d say it’d been a ride, but, well, you know… BENYOMIN GOLD-LEVINE