Archive for August 1st, 2005

Anyway I Chews

Everyone’s a slut for fame. When Gerry told me last night that the blog was in this week’s Sunday Tribune, I shot down to the petrol station to buy what turned out to be the last copy they had. At the counter there was a pile of Wonka bars, presumably a tie-in with the new Tim Burton-directed Charlie and The Chocolate Factory film. Can’t remember what the exact name of the bar was – fudgemalion something or other – as I averted my eyes before the temptation to buy one became too great.

It’s 20 years since I read Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, though I have seen the film with Gene Wilder a couple of times since. I can remember from reading it that the Wonka chocolate was fantastic and otherworldly because you knew it was unlike the chocolate bars – Double Deckers, Drifters, Star Bars – you could buy in any other shop. It was an impossibly idealised version of chocolate. You didn’t expect to go out and buy one. Well, now you can. Perhaps different from other film tie-in products, from Ninja Turtle nunchucks to Spider-Man automatic cameras (in my day they squirted water), these bars leave nothing to the imagination. A child knows that his plastic lightsabre isn’t the same thing that hacks limbs off on-screen, but he is able to pretend that it is.

What can you pretend with a chocolate bar? Maybe buying a bar in your local shop allows you to imagine that you’re re-enacting a scene from the movie. But it’s hard to pretend that the rather uninspiring fondant goo you’ve got smeared all over your teeth is confectionary delight beyond your wildest dreams.

Postscript: Rather than criticise a bar of chocolate without tasting it, I decided to wander out and buy a bar. There were none left in the first shop on my path. So I had a couple of pints instead, which makes this piece a lot harder to finish.

I had thought about writing a long and involved piece on how the reality of prepared food rarely comes close to the ideal. I’ll not bother now, only to tell you that yesterday we took a skite into Dublin for the afternoon and I had a Yorkshire Pudding which surpassed all my expectations of what this humble dish can be. Too often one has to scrape what passes for a Yorkshire Pudding off one’s palate and one’s teeth as if it were a communion wafer. Biting into one can often feel like biting into a boxing glove. Without wishing to render insignficant the rest of the meal, which was also excellent, the Yorkshire Pudding served with the roast in the Chatham Brasserie off Grafton St was a rare delight.

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August 2005