Tuesday, 16 June 2015

The Will to Live

(For J B)

   Keats was justifiably proud of his salad dressing; its liquid caress could invigorate the most flaccid of radacchios. Over the years he had become obsessive about perfecting its recipe and went to extraordinary lengths to procure the requisite mustard, vinegar and olive oil, some of which he would salt away so as to never run out. If any of these ingredients were not immediately at hand, as was often the case due to the shambolic state of his kitchen, he became filled with despair.

   Chapman witnessed one such culinary crisis when he looked in from the dining room to see how his friend's much anticipated vinaigrette was progressing. He saw assembled amid the chaos a salt cellar and pepper pot, a jar of moutade de Dijon and bottle of vinaigre balsamique... but where was the oil so crucial to the mix?

   Keats was searching high and low all the while bemoaning his lack of organisational skills and resultant failure to locate the missing component. Finally, having ransacked in vain every cupboard and shelf, he collapsed into a chair and wailed, “I can not go on like this!”

   “Sounds like you've lost the huile d'olive”, suggested Chapman, unhelpfully.