We lost three girls.
This can’t simply be a casual error. An empty headed misplacement.
They vanished. A thin air disappearance. Sort of. We know vaguely where they are. All in different places.
At this point, maybe you’re thinking: Car boot, basement dungeon, under the patio. Incorrect! Ha! You and your suspicious minds. We run a supper club, we’re not serial killers. James does look creepy in photographs and I don’t look too dissimilar to a creepy clown just after he’s removed his creepy-clown makeup, red skin and weepy eyes BUT we spent our time prepping food, driving up and down Holloway Road, drinking wine in the kitchen and listening to Action Bronson rap about lamb legs and Bibb lettuce. We didn’t have the time to be vamooshing girls. We had ice cream to make, podcasts to listen to, goat curd to drain, sourdough to toast, ‘crafternoons’ to craft and a cute but damn annoying hound to walk endlessly around a patch of grass in a desperate and usually futile attempt to make the dumb canine urinate.
Maybe we had an accomplice or two? Ah, that’s what you’re thinking is it? The Creep and the Creepy Clown needed help did they? We did. We needed a scruffy, handsome, sockless dude with more ongoing relationships than a bacteria microbe in a dustbin. We needed this woolly jumpered, ripped jean lothario with a penchant for biting. Not to bite the girls! Stop with your degenerate thoughts damnit. We needed this dude to make nice when I was sulking in the kitchen, to heft boxes of plates up from the basement, to serve cocktails and carry plates. We didn’t need him to do anything more nefarious than grin when people were rude, smile when James and I bickered, and wash up without complaint.
Wash up PLATES! Not clear any crime scene! We haven’t killed anyone! Jesus.
Others were involved. Two wives. They are alive! You can check if you don’t believe me. Two wives; one supportive of a weekly vanishing act up to London. The other supportive of a creepy-clown faced dude invading her home on a weekly basis. You’d like these wives. They are suspicious, just like you. Their suspicions don’t lie in murder and corpse disposal however. They suspect homoeroticism, forbidden lust, stubble-on-stubble tongue kissing. You’d like these wives. They are just like you in that THEY ARE WRONG!
The Creep and the Creepy-Clown have never kissed. Never held hands, maybe hugged once (which was weird), never felt stirrings of anything except for a mild nausea when a)The Creepy Clown suggested ‘roasted yeast’ as an ingredient and b) When the Creep made Neneh Cherry’s cornbread recipe for some still unfathomable reason.
We share a creepiness sure, but more than that we share a friendship. James is Northern (urgh) I am a son of the South. He listens to Radio 4 while I listen to puerile podcasts. I chew gum much to his distaste (Shout out to Mr Ramsden senior!). I want to put more burnt things on the menu while he wants to put more of his grandmother’s things on the menu. He calls “Nutmeg!” , I call “Szechuan pepper!”. It doesn’t matter. The Creep invited the Creepy-Clown in. Picked him for the team.
Am I awesome? Yip. I am damn awesome. I cook badass food. I’m your first pick for the team. But, what matters is that the creep didn’t have to pick me. He could have carried on with his supper club. Busting out some lamb shoulders, some cold-ass soup, Granny Ramsden’s Nutmeg and Greengage Posset, Neneh Cherry’s cornbread. Dude writes books, knows people. He didn’t have to ask me on his team.
I’ve cooked a bunch of cool food, learnt a hell of a lot, maybe shared a bit of what I know, drank a bunch of red wine, watched a lot of ‘It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia’, wrecked a few pans, and eaten more fucking goat curd than any other dude on the planet other than James.
I’ve also, to wrap this up in a sickly ‘ole pile of schmaltz, made a friend. Which for a miserable, aging, bitter old creepy bastard like me, is weird.
This whole supper club ballyhoo has been awesome, tiring, interesting, stupid, frustrating and all that other nonsense. What comes next will be the same. Here’s hoping it’s as badass as this has been.
Thank you kindly to anyone who came down and enjoyed it. A raised middle finger and a “Fuck you! Ya foamfaces!” to anyone who didn’t… and an apology. I’m polite and guilt-ridden like that. We’re here ’til the end of July. Book a spot and come get it while ye can. We’re doing nowt but good stuff ’til the end. No yeast, no nutmeg.
See you at the place.
PS- Oh yeah, those girls. The three girls who have rocked front of house with Hugh during my tenure, Flora jumped ship and moved to South America. Sophie quit and moved to Melbourne. Hannah has gone to India*. Three girls who seemingly hated the Larder so much they vanished to the furthest corners of the globe. Weird. I hope we weren’t too creepy. Thank you all, ah miss yis, especially my sister Soph. *We haven’t finished yet, Hannah’s going after we’re done but I wanted the neat circularity of all three of the girls going far away so I could bust out the whole ‘hilarious’ murdering girls schtick.