They tell you to be careful on the internet. Careful about who you talk to. What you say. And be extra careful if you go to meet them.
And I was. Very careful. Public places. People knew where I was. Who I was meeting. It should have been fine. It should have just been the once. But no, I’ve not been able to keep away. I’ve had to go back for more, and more. I hoped this last one would be the one to finish it off. The one to expose the situation for what it was. After all the first time I met him he used a pseudonym so I should have known. But something tells me its not going to stop. Its bad; I’m married, he’s married. He’s got kids for goodness sake.
But still we can’t stop.
Yes really. FOOD.
Because out there in the mad world of food blogging people seem to want to share. Not just their recipes or reviews in print. But real actual food that they’ve carefully grown or crafted with their own hands. And so I’m in deep because I like food and I like sharing. What started as a chance to bag a wild garlic plant for the garden, has turned into a whole host of meetings usually with some food item surreptitiously handed over: from cooking pork five ways for this project to learning the glories of real pie mash and liquor.…and well this. A reverse ‘Where’s my Pork Chop’ exchange, commonly known on twitter as rWMPC.
Of course we all know Danny’s onto a winner with his WMPC project, he gets his dinner cooked by some of London’s finest food bloggers (and a few hangers on like me) and he buys them cheap lunch or gives them a bottle of plonk. This guy’s no fool. And of course he claims he’s proved his own cooking credentials before with his rWMPC swap with Essex Eating. But I’m not buying that. I mean they are both called Dan, they are both from Essex, they pretend to go to the same events, they tweet from the same train home, and to my knowledge they’ve never been seen in the same room at the same time. So you know, I think they are the same person, its obvious, well maybe at very least related in some way that means Dan 2 isn’t going to say Dan 1 can’t cook and vice versa…..I’m suspicious and so I coolly volunteer to be rWMPC participant number 2. Danny is rather evasive and it takes me quite a number of months to finally pin him to a date….is this because after all he can’t actually cook I wonder.
And so at the allotted time on the allotted day we meet again at Liverpool Street. No flowers this time. We pop to a nearby pub. Get some beers. Talk food experiments. Then Danny rummages in his bag and whips out a foil tray.
OMG it looks like something from the Chinese takeaway could be lurking inside. Then there is a bag that apparently contains Dan’s nemesis, or did he say something for which he’d had to conquer his nemesis. I can’t quite remember. Because by this time I’ve realised I really am going to have to eat this, I’m accepting food from a bloke from Essex who I know very little about, no real idea where he’s been or what he gets up to and to cap it all I suddenly notice with his glasses he has an eerie resemblance to Dr Crippen.
Way’s of getting rid of the food and rustling up a similar meal spool through my head, then I can claim I ate it, write the post and be done. I hand over my rWMPC gift of homemade damson vodka. And nonchalantly we stroll off to get our respective trains home.
Once home I peak inside the parcels properly. We appear to have some homemade pasta, ah so that’s what all the muttering of nemesis was about, Danny’s fear of the pasta machine.
And in the foil tray we seem to have something that resembles some form of ragu, possibly with sausage in or possibly just some sauted off chopped up remains of Dan’s previous victim.
And a little pot of allegedly freshly grated parmesan, though it looks remarkably like the pre grated stuff they sell in the supermarket.
I’m still a bit concerned. It’s a lovely idea this food swap. But you know who is the guy I’ve accepted it from. Then my husband points out that since Dan has already scoffed his way through the WMPC dishes I prepared for him (actually we don’t know he has he just SAID he had) we should get on with eating these. The hunger gets the better of the dithering. We heat up the ragu, we boil water and cook the pasta. Into some bowls and parmesan on top. Voila (except its not French of course). We eat. It’s good. Very good. The pasta is just right, not to fragile but with the lightness and silkiness that homemade pasta has once the nemesis has been beaten. The sauce is rich, earthy and robust. The sausage turns out to be fennel, for which marks are deducted by my husband as he doesn’t like the flavour fennel (something to do with ouzo and greek holiday I believe). I however, am rather enjoying it. The parmesan doesn’t have that weird smell that pre grated usually does so I’m guessing it was truly grated by Dan’s own hands, I still knock marks off though because personally I’d have liked an enormous lump of top notch parmesan to grate myself but there you go in the world of ready meals you can’t have everything. And even after this feast there is enough ragu for me to have for lunch later in the week by which time the fennel flavour is mellower.
Maybe Dan can cook after all, or maybe just one of them can. Because yet again they weren’t both there to hand over the food so Dan 2 could have cooked and Dan 1 delivered it. Or Dan’s wife could have cooked it. Or his mum. Or his Nan. Or some fab secret ready meals service in Essex.
Nothing much is proved. Dan may be able to cook. He didn’t go all Dr Crippen on this occasion. What I do know is that the food I got to eat was pretty darn good and if that’s not a reason to continue meeting I don’t know what is.
Scores out of 10:
Ragu: 9.5 (7.5 from fennel hater)
Linda - with knife and fork
Well I really don't know what to say.
I am torn.
On the one hand, it's obvious that you enjoyed my pasta, my homemade pasta which pleases me immensely and then you go and say that I look like Dr Friggin' Crippen? The ragu gets a stellar 9.5 rating on the richter scale but then you infer that "nothing much is proved" and that quite possibly I have got someone else to cook your rWMPC meal?! Furthermore you dare to suggest that Essex Eating Dan and I are one and the same person??!! You actually think I am related to that hairy oaf???!!!
I am beside myself with outrage.
I need to lie down.