The Short Humour Site

Home : Writers' Showcase : Submission Guidelines : A Man of a Few More Words : Links

Further Writing by Swan Morrison

Saucisse Avec Purée de Pois

‘Are you ready to order, Sir?’

‘What’s the “corn tamale with avocado and corn salsa” that’s here on the menu?’

‘Can I take it that you’ve no knowledge of this dish?’

‘That’s correct. It’s why I’m asking.’

‘In that case, there’d be no point in me describing it because the kitchen wouldn’t prepare it for you.’

‘It’s on your menu, so why not?’

‘This restaurant’s owner, and chef, Pretentio Bullasheetio, has four Michelin stars. He has trained for many years with the finest cooks in the world and appeared as a judge on TV cookery competitions. He believes there is absolutely no point in preparing complex dishes, incorporating multiple levels of flavour experience, for diners who lack a sufficiently experienced palate. He likens it to presenting a Lamborghini to a child who has yet learned to drive – quite pointless and an affront to the designer’s art. The fact that you’ve never heard of his dish rather puts you into that category, I’m afraid. Why don’t you choose something you do know about?’

‘There aren’t any dishes on this menu that I fully understand. “Scallops with puree of English peas, pancetta and quail eggs, finished with shaved truffles” contains ingredients that I’ve heard of, but I’ve no idea what the food might look or taste like. It’s the same with “duck fat fried chicken with pecan-quinoa-corn waffles”.’

‘Perhaps you should inspect this menu, Sir. Pretentio reserves it for what he calls his more culinarily challenged diners.’

‘That’s better. I understand the dishes on this sheet. … They’re a bit limited though: “Pot Noodle”; “Ginster’s pasty”; “Aldi beef burger” – all served with “McCain’s chips” and “Heinz baked beans”.’

‘Pretentio believes that diners such as yourself, Sir, feel much more at home with those choices,’

‘Well, I’m pretty hungry so perhaps Pretentio could rustle-up a beef burger with chips and baked beans for me.’

‘Pretentio will never prepare such food. He has a separate room across the street where you can select those items for yourself and pop them into the microwave. I can give you the key to that lock-up if you like. Pretentio says it avoids potential cross contamination with his creations and, indeed, his better educated customers. There are less demanding restaurants around here, you know. The café of the Tate Modern is just over the Millennium Bridge.’

‘I’ve come from there. I tried to order “boiled eggs de Peter Doig" and then attempted “cheese on toast a la Yves Klein".’

‘How did that go?’

‘I knew what a boiled egg was, and I’m something of a connoisseur of cheese on toast – although I say so myself. Unfortunately, I’d never heard of Peter Doig or Yves Klein, so they threw me out.’

‘This is an increasing problem, I’m afraid, due to the influence of MasterChef on TV. Many people who use the Salvation Army's nightly soup and sandwich service for the homeless can easily afford to eat in restaurants. They’re simply not knowledgeable enough about fine dining to qualify for a table in London.’

‘How can I get a meal then – apart from waiting for the Salvation Army van tonight?

‘I’d try the fish and chip shop opposite St Paul’s if I were you. Are you familiar with “cod in batter”?’


‘That’s a good start. They may call it “hand crafted ale battered, Baltic cod loin” but it’s the same thing, so don’t let that throw you. You can probably wing it.’

‘Thanks for the advice. I’ll give it a go.’

‘I might see you later, actually. To be frank, I often eat there. Just between us, Pretentio’s cooking tastes pretty awful to me, but what can you say to a Michelin four star chef? At that level, if you don’t like the food then you’re to blame for not having a sufficiently educated palate. The “saucisse avec purée de pois” at the fish and chip shop is particularly good, by the way.’

‘“Saucisse avec purée de pois”.’

‘Sausage with mushy peas.’

‘Thanks for the tip. I’ll see if I can get away with ordering it.’

‘Good luck.’

‘Many thanks. Might see you later.’