17th June 2024

“Ready, Steady, Coke!” – in the kitchen with Marcus Atherton


Hello again all. Cambridge’s most unread blog is back for a second instalment!

I will admit, I started the week on a bit of a low. The reception to my previous piece wasn’t quite as I had anticipated, and I was even doubting the brilliance of my own word vomit. But I laid out my two lines and was soon on the up again. Suddenly I had yet another brilliant thought: why not turn the blog aural? Yes, masses, I decided to turn the blog into a podcast.

An accidental slip of the old finger (not the first time that’s happened – oink) and 1 podcast microphone became 11 million on the order form. I received a quick missive from my mate Jeff at Amazon saying they now had a shortage. We love to see it – that is, the trust fund saved from emptying and Jeff’s innovative approach to taxation. Thank fuck I didn’t order the full supply, but it’s not like anyone else should be starting podcasts right now. I have such a unique perspective as a privileged white male, but I don’t know what the fuck anyone else has to talk about.

The question then became content. Content, content, content – I vaguely recall my ex-girlfriend once say something about making her content. Another line (got to support the local independent trader in these tough times!) brought another flash of genius – I would start a cooking podcast. With no hall meals to get by on and bloody cookie on the furlough at home, I must step up to the job. Can’t be that hard. I’ve been going to bed with Nigella’s book (The Book) by my side for years – it hasn’t been used for much cooking inspiration as yet, but there must be more in it than her delightful rack.

Then came the problem of picking a kitchen. The back kitchen has been colonised by the Labradors, and given that Mimi is about to birth a litter of purebreds I thought to give it a miss. ‘Dog gunk’, I believe, does not feature in The Book. The front kitchen was also a ‘no’ – the feng shui in there is a shitshow and besides, it stinks of fennel. Thus, the only solution was building my own. I perused the Internet and found an excellent firm that would provide me with a ‘productivity shed’, fitted with whatever I needed, for only £20,000. If it’s good enough for David Cameron, then it’s good enough for me, I thought. Unfortunately the construction process set me back a few days, but by the time the Atherton Annex was done I had read enough of The Book to know where to begin.

It seems from my research that the main ingredient needed for cooking is a woman. My preference was a middle-aged hourglass whose sensual antics with a fork make you feel unspeakable things. I brought in Mummy.

Nigella says that local, fresh produce is fundamental for the refined palette; thus, to get that farm-to-fork feel I went out into the grounds and shot three pheasants, two hares and a large deer. I also dug up some cavolo nero from the kitchen garden. However I still lacked a few necessities, and so a trip to Waitrose was in order. Unfortunately, despite my remonstrations with the staff, Waitrose refused to sell me both arborio rice and orzo. The shelf boy kept mentioning something about essential produce – yes, I know arborio rice is a staple food, but that’s no excuse for letting standards drop – think of the nurses! I was forced to settle for whole wheat basmati and organic fresh penne instead. These are the true trials of such a tumultuous time.

Despite my extended perusal of Nigella’s fruits, I was still unsure what to do for pudding. Eton Mess was out of the question, as this would be a shameful sleight on my spiritual home, Wellington. Also, spotted dick would bring back some rather painful memories…

Fast forward many hours, and it turns out cooking is not for me. Each step needed Mummy’s help, but in the end the beans on toast were bloody good. Onwards and upwards!