Saturday, 29 December 2007
Italian Rugger Buggers
On the late afternoon of Christmas Day I went to Mrs Combo's cousins, a house in the country where they still kill things to eat. The house is falling down but they have spent thousands on the outside cooking area which is lavish even by South Florida barbecue installation standards and can easily accommodate hundreds of family members. This is the fill-in bit between Christmas lunch and Christmas dinner. The dish on offer (cooked outside) was bagna cauda, a vicious local sauce made with garlic and anchovies into which are dipped raw vegetables of choice for general munching. It was bitterly cold (everything takes place outside) and all the better for that. There was some serious drinking. The main players were the former stars of the local rugby club, now defunct. Because I am English they all take the piss out of me. I can't imagine why. After this playful interlude I managed two other functions. The ever-patient Mrs Combo drove me home at around one o'clock on Boxing Day morning. Surfacing much later, I found that I had brought the bottle in the accompanying photograph home with me, which is the hard-to-get-hold-of house wine for said (extinct) rugby club. Gosh! Could I now be accepted? I have a horrible feeling 'though that I nicked it.