I am sitting in a 20-foot container, a reasonably well-appointed container admittedly but a container nevertheless. The kind of container in which people stuff cars, or building materials, illegal immigrants, whatever, or wash up on the southern coast of UK loaded with BMW motorcycles, that sort of container. It is one of a few that sitting on their little wooden blocks plugged into a generator together form the residential half of the industrial site that I am running........
.........I had better teach myself to cook. Easier said than done when in a war zone. It is all very well getting the best cook books but all of them assume that the local delicatessen or well stocked supermarket is but a short drive away. So I stopped lugging the books around in my back-pack and started to look at the ingredients that were available around me. I then figured out the best way to turn, what were sometimes collectively quite an odd assortment, into a dish that would not only sustain me, but was a delight to eat. Well I wasn't always successful, my rats in Satay sauce were, quite frankly, gut churning but I was desperate at the time.
To my surprise, however, I found that cooking in the front line, so to speak, was an enjoyable experience. It took my mind off the horrors around me and the discomfort we all suffered. It brought me close to a surprising variety of people and I am sure that on more than one occasion, instead of being ambushed, the smell of cooking wafting through the bush encouraged my would be assailants to appear sheepishly out of the gloom, weapons pointing safely towards the ground, politely asking if there was any going spare.
Sure he's no Hank, (but who of us is?) the great beauty of his writing is his knack of reveling just how easy it is to knock up terrific grub even in seemingly adverse circumstances. Think of him as an older, wiser, wittier Jamie Oliver, based in Angola.
Off for a spot of fishing.