Monday, 22 November 2010

Dumplings


These are actually Hugh's disastrous dumplings, but we ate all of my mum's dumplings so fast there was no time to take a photo, so this is just to give you the idea


Gay men don't like me. I've always suspected this but lately I've come to realise that it's just a fact.

Actually, it's not that they don't like me, it's that they are totally indifferent to me, which I think is in some way worse. I am to a gay man what a 65 year old woman is to a 23 year-old builder from Essex: invisible.

I used to try to be fabulous and bitchy and engaging and flamboyant, in a sort of desperate caricature of what I thought a gay man might want in a woman - and it briefly aroused a faint flicker of interest from one or two gay men. But it was unsustainable and I soon slid back into my natural persona: anti-social, chilly, beady, unsympathetic. And the loose grip I had on their interest melted away like the only two snowflakes of a mild winter on a warm car bonnet.

Everyone else I know has a gay friend - at least one. Everyone. Even my 85 year-old Swiss-German grandmother. "I vent to Lausanne last veekend," she will say. "Wiz my PANSY FRIEND Alain G-!" and she will shriek with delight at the thought of neat little Alain with his kerchief and lovely manners and expertise in early Renaissance ceramics.

Even my husband has a huge gay following and gay men have always thought he was great. At parties I usually find him talking to some very high-powered gay man, who will be standing there in a £5,000 suit laughing, showing off a lot of very perfect teeth and sighing and saying "Oh Giles." And then I come up and stand there and smile, feeling like a frump, and the high-powered gay man's eyes will slightly glaze over when I say something. And then eventually I'll excuse myself to the loo and let them get on with it.

"Yeah that's a surprise they don't like you," said my friend Wendy, who has, I think, almost exclusively gay friends. "Because, you know, you can be quite a bitch and they quite like that."

I ought to take lessons off my mother: she is a gay magnet extraordinaire. But she's not a bitch. She just LOVES gay men, or anyone camp or anyone fabulous. I'd say it's because she's an artist, but she's not like that - she's not all dope-smoking and far-out, man - she's just a very talented figurative draughtswoman. And by that I mean she draws things and they look like what they are. And sculpture, ooh you should her sculptures. But there must be a flamboyant, "modern", arty side to her that makes all these super dooper gay men flock to her door.

I ought to listen to my mother more, in general. Like the other day, I wanted to make dumplings for a stew but instead of ringing my mother, who makes great dumplings, I looked up a recipe in Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's Meat Book for a recipe and they were TERRIBLE! Hard and nasty.

So I meekly emailed my mother for her recipe and she sent it back and they came out perfectly - like little clouds. Perhaps now I can make dumplings like clouds a gay man will want to be my friend. But I doubt it.

My mother's dumplings
Makes about 8

"6oz SELF RAISING flour,
3oz suet.
Water.
Salt & pepper,
lots of parsley (optional, but good with stewed lamb).
Mix to a soft, not too dry consistency"

[N.B. how my mother uses CAPITAL LETTERS about the self-raising flour, as I would. DNA: not a made-up thing.]

You can either cook these in a steamer, if you've got one, for 25 minutes - or rest them on top of your stew for the last 25 minutes of its cooking time.

9 comments:

  1. I don't have any gay men/women...is that a problem you think?!?

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  2. Well, not really a problem so much and I don't know what it means or says about me - or you - I've just noted that I am unusual in my family and acquaintances in not have any close gay friends...

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  3. Um... I'm a gay man and I LOVE you and I often think you're fabulous and bitchy and engaging and flamboyant... so there x

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  4. Gosh I love your blog Esther! Your posts are an endless source of entertainment!

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  5. I'm one of your husband's huge gay followers, and tbh I started coming here hoping some of the Giles would rub off.

    But I keep coming back here because you write well and you cook interesting stuff, and I'm genuinely keen to know what's going on in your kitchen.

    I don't suppose we'd ever meet at a party but I would try and be nice if we did.

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  6. If my husband wasn't there, I daresay we'd get on okay. But if he was there you wouldn't be able to help yourself, you'd be starry-eyed. He's simply catnip for gay men. xxxx

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  7. Pff, if your husband were there I'd be too starstruck to talk to anyone at all, even you. It would be like that time I met Kit AND the Widow.

    But you gotta love a girl who has a tape measure within easy reach whilst making youtube videos.

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  8. And PS let's face it, he's catnip for straight women, too, no?

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  9. Yeah, I'm a gay guy too, and I must say that, at least on your blog/twitter, I like ya. Perhaps there's something else in real life that breaks it.

    Of course, I am not the well-dressed gay in a $5000 suit, or the camp gay in a kerchief, so perhaps it is I who is broken.

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