Last month three of Britain’s leading lights invited me into their family homes. In three fly-on-the-wall moments of political genius, Camshaft, Moribund and Clogg each revealed their kitchen’s innermost secrets – how the kitchen was the hub of family life and how they shared the routines of a workaday household. Chopping onions, stirring cake mixture and laying the table were all on show, as were recipes offering the nutrition that helps senior politicians tirelessly conduct themselves with vigour and grace.
I felt it only right to reciprocate their hospitality by inviting the three of them round to my house. I say ‘the three of them’ because once other party leaders got wind of my intention they all wanted to come. At one point seven of them were demanding a piece of the action, which I thought was a bit of a cheek since only three had been considerate enough to show me their kitchens.
At the appointed time Camshaft and Moribund were delivered by smart limousines, though we had to wait a while for Clogg who’d come by public transport and the connecting double-decker from Gloucester to Ledbury had conked out in the middle of nowhere. Once we were all assembled in my kitchen and Clogg had called his mum to say he’d arrived safely, we got down to business.
I think they were instantly impressed! I’d worried that their kitchens would be a tough act to follow, but I could sense a heap of kitchen envy coming my way. And they seemed pleased to be free of the Westminster maelstrom and to bask instead in the haven of my provincial Herefordshire home.
Camshaft was interested in my two sieves – a coarse, plastic one for vegetables and pasta, and a finer one for rice.
‘Moribund’s economic policies would wash away through either of these,’ he said, with a tight-lipped grin.
‘But joking apart, this system is ideal for the smaller home,’ he added. ‘And if the Cons form a new government it will be our aim for every three-bedroom household in England to have twin sieves.’
I noticed Clogg admiring my kitchen cupboard doors. Personally I find them rather dull, but it was flattering to have them thought of so highly by such a senior figure.
‘Our raising of the Income Tax threshold during the past five years has enabled thousands of ordinary households to install kitchen cupboard doors like these,’ he said.
‘If the Never Nevers form a new government we shall raise it even further, allowing millions to upgrade their flip-top bins and oven extractor fans.’
Quietly unnoticed during this door-admiring exchange, Moribund had been closely inspecting my Morphy Richards microwave.
‘That’s strange,’ he said, ‘this microwave is timed in minutes only. There’s no “hours” symbol.
‘That’s quite normal, isn’t it?’ I suggested.
‘It’s a disgrace!’ he said, with as much bluster as he could summon. ‘If Laborious forms a new government, I shall put an end to the outrageous epidemic of zero-hours microwaves.’
We all sniggered a bit – but, fair enough, I guess he had a point.
To get a better understanding of where they really lay on the all-important matter of cooking and kitchenalia, I set them a challenge. I laid out a number of ingredients from which they each had half an hour to make Welsh rarebit. I would stand by and offer encouragement, and it would be called Master Chief.
Camshaft fussed away, admitting that he’d always steered well clear of Wales and this task was therefore a bit close for comfort. He also pointed out that with the extra million jobs he’d created in the economy there were now a million more people able to enjoy Welsh rarebit as a teatime treat.
Meanwhile Moribund was stirring a suspicious-looking mix like nobody’s business, smacking at the unyielding cheesy lump whilst muttering about the right ingredients for a just and fair society.
Sadly, Clogg disqualified himself, breaking competition rules by phoning his mum to ask whether the Marmite should go underneath or on top of the cheese.
Having hosted them in my kitchen, I felt none the wiser about political affiliation than I had when they entertained me in theirs. My test hadn’t really helped, nor did the subsequent debate on television, where Clogg, Camshaft and Moribund were joined by the four other leaders who’d tried gate-crashing my kitchen event:
- Nigella Gar-arge You Fancy a Kip Party
- Theresa Green Clean Party
- Nickaless Urge-On Scottish Gnats
- Leanne Would Plied Comely
Grandiose claims on the economy, immigration and the National Health Service were bandied about by seven people during two hours of heated debate, but none had the guts to reaffirm their position on recipes, ladles, kettle wattages or, frankly, kitchen matters of any kind – rather disappointing, I thought, after the early promise of three culinary campaigns.
Only weeks till the big day. Cometh the election, cometh the Leader. If they’re to get my vote they’d be well advised to slot in a few more demos at their marble worktops. I tell you, the first person I spot sporting an anti-slip, toughened-tip, ultra-grip, own brand Wilkinson spatula with matching omelette whisk will shout out at me: “WINNER!”
Paul Costello Copyright © April 2015
click. com – a play by Paul Costello. A comic romp through the joys and pitfalls of internet dating for ‘mature’ people. Showing at Bosbury Parish Hall Friday 24th/Saturday 25th July 2015.