For a long time, there was a t.v. program over here
in which candidates try to stump a chef by bringing a shopping bag of groceries,
all for under about twenty dollars,
and watch two star chefs tear their hair out
trying to turn a bag of chocolate bars, turnips, and mock turtle soup,
into a three course meal fit for the Savoy,
or the Michelin or Cordon Blue judges.
In twenty minutes, no less.
And, since I like creative anything,
I was always thrilled at what they did.
But a bigger thrill was, of course,
when someone brought in a set meal.
Trout muellerin with fancy new potatoes and fresh peas,
And the chef turned it into:
Potatoe and pea lasagne,
with a fresh green salad,
and a cheese-trout desert cake,
topped with fancy ornaments,
and a small carrot carved into a fish,
tail through eye like in Alice in Wonderland.
Or some such thing.
And the sheer audacity of breaking with convention,
and creating something so memorable wierd,
that still manages, somehow or another,
to look like a special section in a Sunday photo spread,
taste elegant and welcoming,
or so say the candidates and audience,
and cost less than ten dollars per person,
is so amazing to me,
I’ve been thinking for quite a while about creating the same thing in other fields.
Shoes you can unroll, zip together, and wear on your head like an umbrella,
if you don’t mind walking barefoot,
and would prefer wet feet to wet clothes, hair, and body.
Feet can be dried under a restroom dryer,
but clothes, hair, skin, eyelashes,
even eyeballs, if you live in the midwest…
And what about those tent-thingies you are supposed to sleep in
when hubby decides you are all going camping and you don’t want to drag a trailer.
Instead, you could buy, hopefully somewhere, some day,
one of those expansion jack sets they use to lift houses above the flood level.
One room plus bath should do.
Two if you have kids.
Mounted on top of which is one of those plastic springy air-filled blow-up castle things kids jump on at fairs,
inflatable with a pump from the car.
the sewage line goes into a recyclable plastic thing you fold up and take away and empty when you stop somewhere with public restrooms.
run a line for an electric heater into the storage battery built into the base,
here a fake fireplace would be nice,
depending on the size of the car trunk.
And, of course, depending on how close you are to a stream,
you could add a small pool indentation on the outside of the castle,
for swimming, or bathing the next morning.
(soap outside the pool, like the Japanese, and you only recycle a small amount.)
For drinking water, the water purification tablets and container don’t take much room.
(with a plastic sheet and a little rain, you don’t even need them)
Cooking can be done by solar,
or over the heating.
Or eat joghurt and muesli for a while,
and look good while bathing in your pool.
Then, there is the question of entertainment.
You could, of course, do something novel,
(sorry about the pun)
Or, you could always take along a few musical instruments.
Depending on how good you are, make sure you are FAR from the next campers.
Or you could tell stories…
About people who are being chased by hoards of man-eating mutant soybean plants,
angry that we are eating so much soy joghurt,
or people who go camping in the woods,
and are eaten by a hoard of hungry bears…
you could leave the kids with his mom,
And go someplace like a small, cheap but romantic weekend bed and breakfast,
in the area of a nice big city,
with lots of nice museums, free concerts, healthy restaurants.
Are you reading this, dear?
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