"What's that? Poopt?!"
The other night for dinner I tried one of my culinary delights on my son. That - ladies and gentlemen - is Chish Ficken. I know - t sounds like something that (if filmed) would involve an extreme closeup of a ladies' bacon sandwich. Well - it's very tenuously in the same ball park (if you've ever met women from Neath in South Wales, anyway). Essentially it's chicken sauteed in soy and fish sauce (with a few other things like cumin and garlic powder bunged in for good measure). Anyway - it makes chicken taste nothing like itself and entirely dead stinking fish. Fish sauce pretty much takes anything it touches taste exactly like fish sauce. It's a majestic, foul liquid that will have you grabbing the toothbrush, checking your teeth for the strange hairs and pledging to be more choosy about women and hygiene as soon as you're done. It reeks to high heaven but it's delicious stuff. Normally we have it with rice but I chucked it in a salad with cucumbers and cashew nuts. Very nice indeed. My daughter had a lick of it but I figured she wouldn't actually it eat. My son though had a few pieces of chicken and seemed to enjoy all the stuff that touched it - therefore being tainted by it's reesty salty stench.
In fact it's so strong a flavor/smell that years ago for a museum exhibition I came up with an idea to get people to sniff my box with fish sauce all over it. Perhaps I should explain. People seem to associate some colors with scents or flavors. Hence why expats get so irritated that potato chip colors are all wrong in the US. Seriously - yellow for ready salted and blue for salt an vinegar? I'm not even going to get into how earth-shatteringly wrong it is that the nearest thing to a cheese and onion flavor (Cheddar and Sour Cream) is in an orange bag. Anyway - that sort of ruins my point. Which is that when you see something that's red you tend to think it will smell like cherry, strawberry or whatnot. A better example would be if you had something white and sniffed it you'd expect coconut or vanilla right? Okay - so the idea I came up with was to make ten colored boxes - about the size of Rubik's cubes - and stuff them with cotton wool. Then I'd soak them in a scent (go look in the cooking aisle - they're all there) that you wouldn't normally associate with that color. So the blue box would have an orange scent, and the red box would have liquorice. Then patrons of the museum would come up to the interactive exhibit we'd set up and sniff the boxes. There was a fill-in sheet thing we collected too which had two columns - what you thought it should smell like and what it actually smelled like. I filled the red box with fish sauce - and then stood and grinned at the hundreds of people who inhaled a big fat whiff of it before recoiling in horror. Lots of people said it smelled like cat food. A young boy said it was like his dead hamster. I do recall the odd person chancing it and making a, "this smells a bit like a very bad vagina..." comment. Oh it's delicious.
In unrelated news, yesterday my son genuinely bawled his eyes out because I wouldn't let him lick me while I was on the toilet. That seemed reasonable to me. But to him it was like I'd just told him I don't like him anymore and his very presence is fouler than anything I might currently be doing. So he stood - mouth clamped open wide - wailing in rapid shot bursts amidst incredibly intense silent screaming. As he did this he reached out feebly toward me - the telltale sign that he just wants to be held - and got more and more upset that I didn't pick him up. Which I couldn't - what with all the emptying I was going through. After a few seconds of that the wailing got longer and he managed to throw in stuttered shouts of, "LICK!!" in an attempt to explain himself - and to remind me of the fantastic game we play where he licks me and I make a comedy show of how wet I now am. Except this time I didn't even let him get going. Then he started coughing. His sister used to get so wound up this way that she could actually throw up. I don't think he's ever been that worked up so quickly before (over something so loving too....). So now I found myself sat in my own bathroom telling me snotty, cough-gagging son to calm down, while he tried to yell, "LICK" at me and climb on my lap.
I'm ashamed to say that in the end I gave up. I lost my dignity and picked him up onto my lap and held him. I don't know if any of you have ever tenderly held someone to you whilst you defecate. But if you have I imagine they would also be sobbing as well. In this case he put his head on my shoulder and tried to bury into me as I tried in someway to hold him up into the air somewhat away from areas of my body that had just been to the toilet. Some kind of small victory there. That strange, tender moment was quickly ruined though when he heard a podunk delivery noise, twitched upright like a pointer dog and said, "What's that? Poopt!?" I had managed to skillfully begin the end of the whole siege with a modicum of decency before his sister wandered in with a toy stethoscope. Then she asked in her something-is-clearly-wrong-for-comic-effect voice, "erm....whare you dong Defecant?"
You see - at some point after getting out of school yesterday my daughter decided that was my new pet name. It's a mix of the words "defendant" and "defecate." The first of which she asked me to explain after I fulfilled an impulse to watch Jack Nicholson knocking the acting-ball out of the park in A Few Good Men on Youtube . The second half was something overheard on a news report on NPR in the car, and I explained it was how people get to say "poop" on the radio without getting in trouble. She then melded the two words together - irritatingly with a hard emphasis on the last syllable that it sound like she's calling me something else much worse who also is hard of hearing.
Wait - you don't think she actually is just calling me a deaf Piers Morgan do you?