As a child I was brought up by my grandparents and my father, who’s an electrician, with my time being shared equally between them. My grandmother, who’d do all the cooking, fed me a staple diet of meat and two veg – as my grandfather would refuse to eat anything else, and still does. Doreen (grandmother) always said “I give you proper English food and your father feeds you what I call ’foreign stuff’”. Andy (father) fed me kebabs, takeaway and whatever food was in the reduced to clear bin at Tesco, I guess the staple diet of any electrician.
I remember my dad first taking me for a curry (foreign stuff) at one of my hometown’s many Indian restaurants. Outside the restaurant is a water fountain, which I think is meant to add a sense of sophistication to the dining experience. My first taste of curry, probably at about the age of ten, ended with me throwing up into the restaurant’s water feature and us never going there again – very sophisticated.
I always remember my dad telling me that the hottest curry you can get in Britain was the Phall, infamously hotter than the Vindaloo. He said he’d never tried it but had heard a man had died from sampling just one bite (I may have added the last bit).
On day twenty-eight I felt the time in my life had come to sample Britain’s culinary scorcher. Firstly, I discovered it’s quite hard to find an Indian restaurant that actually offers the Phall. Secondly, sampling it with a massive hangover may not have been a great idea.
The curry was a lethal looking colour, the kind of colour that in the natural world would mean; ‘instant death don’t touch’. The Chicken Phall was hot and tears ran down my face, but it wasn’t as hot as I’d expected. When I finished it I thought it wasn’t that bad, how foolishly smug I was.
One hour after sampling the ‘bum burner’, I suddenly felt I had little desire to do anything. In fact I just wanted to go to bed, because I felt a little wrong inside. During the night I never properly slept, visited the toilet several times and was sick twice, but luckily this time in the privacy of my own home and not in a local water feature.
It took me two days to recover from the Phall.
…CAUTIOUSLY ON TO THE NEXT NEW THING