Ray Ad­di­son’s real life

Our new colum­nist takes a foray into Dubai’s am­a­teur food scene

Good (UAE) - - CONTENTS - rayad­dis­on­live.com

“What you’re smelling now is my very own mix of vine­gar and grape­fruit,” he said, pry­ing open the grubby Tup­per­ware box. “It’s been in my apart­ment mar­i­nat­ing for four weeks, so it can re­ally soak in all those flavours.”

I nod­ded slowly, a tight smile fixed on my face as I des­per­ately tried to think of a way to es­cape this lu­natic. “I have five dif­fer­ent va­ri­eties here for you to try,” he con­tin­ued, “so I hope you’ve brought your appetite. It’s so nice to fi­nally meet some­one who shares my love of food.”

The bad man was about to hurt me, but it was to­tally my own fault. Stuck in a voiceover booth on a week-long project with the dullest sound­man on earth, I’d fi­nally found some­thing that we could talk about. I should have sus­pected my show­ing po­lite in­ter­est in his meatcur­ing hobby would re­sult in the ter­ri­ble sit­u­a­tion I now found my­self in – a marathon tast­ing ses­sion with recipes dreamed up by a culi­nary crim­i­nal.

I blamed my­self, but I also blamed tele­vi­sion. Since the first cook­ing show launched in 1946 ( Elsie Presents

James Beard in“I Love to Eat”), a bil­lion dol­lar in­dus­try has grown up around con­vinc­ing the pub­lic that they should ex­per­i­ment with, and even sell, their own food. In some cases, the re­sults are amaz­ing. But for ev­ery mil­lions-mak­ing Reg­gae Reg­gae Sauce are ten deep fried Mars Bars and a Baby Gaga ice cream made with hu­man breast milk.

“Here, taste this!” The sound­man grabbed a piece of meat and of­fered it to me with a wide smile that re­minded me of a de­mented cat, mew­ing hideously as it dis­played the car­cass of its lat­est vic­tim. Right now it was a toss-up on what I’d like to eat least – a man­gled mouse or this stink­ing strip of sir­loin. Re­luc­tantly, I took the ‘food’ and pressed it to my clenched lips, mak­ing a “mmmm, mmmm” sound like a kid­nap vic­tim try­ing to please his cap­tor.

Un­for­tu­nately, this wasn’t my first time at the rodeo. A few years ear­lier I’d been trapped in a kitchen with a raw food fa­natic and, strictly speak­ing, I should have learned my les­son. “Ovens are an out­dated tra­di­tion,” he had told me. “Heat is an un­nec­es­sary evil.” I’d nod­ded and looked for the door.

From pre­tend­ing to en­joy raw spaghetti Bolog­naise to tast­ing my first and last lime av­o­cado tart, my morals and my taste buds were thor­oughly com­pro­mised that night. ‘The prob­lem is I’m just too nice,’ I’d thought as I fi­nally es­caped. You see, I re­ally hadn’t wanted to hurt the well-mean­ing raw food mon­ster, de­spite the dam­age he had done to my in­sides. Ap­par­ently, I was now in a sim­i­lar dilemma.

The sound­man was now lean­ing in close, ex­am­in­ing my full plate with a look of dis­ap­point­ment. “Don’t you like it?” he frowned. “You said you did.”

This is your mo­ment, I thought. Time to save your­self from hav­ing to eat the rest. And I would have done, but as I pursed my lips to speak, I lost my nerve en­tirely. “They’re amaz­ing, but you shouldn’t be wast­ing them on me,” I smiled. “They’re too spe­cial. You should be sell­ing this stuff…”


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