Two or three years ago, when searching for a fat free alternative to most meat products as they were available then, I bought a bag of dried soya chunksi

My intention was to add the chunks to stews, curries, casseroles et al. The results of so doing were not very far from inedible. The flavour was repugnant and the texture of the cooked soya was more than off putting. It was, I imagine, much like trying to chew a boiled synthetic sponge (I say synthetic because for all I know when boiled long enough real sponges may indeed be edible, whereas I am confident that the synthetic variety never will be).

There are those who would advocate consigning the remainder of unpleasant foods  to the bin but I have always had difficulty in throwing anything at all away and throwing away something that is potentially eatable is, well "haram". I firmly tied the neck of the bag and placed it in the back of cupboard where it remained until last Friday. While tidying the cupboard space I found the bag once more, again I felt the pressure to dispose of it one way or another and so rather than throw it away I decided to try again.

I made the strongest of curries, oodles of tamarind, fresh chillies, dried chillis, coriander, tumeric, fresh ginger, dried ginger, fresh garlic, dried garlic, tumeric, cumin, tomatoes, tomatoe paste, I was blowing every chord I'd got. The results were decidedly better than the previous attempts but still I feared would be regarded as repellant by both friends and family.

As I stared forlornly at the bag, contemplating the final sad act of disposal, I cast my eye over the instructions and oh!

Now, instructions I want you to understand, are not necessarily an anathema to me. I have, on occasion, when working in IT, turned to the instructions after all else has failed. I have in the past even recommend to colleagues that they read the flipping manual (or words to that effect) but as the contents of these instructions were entirely new to me, its was reasonable to suppose that for this product I had previously deemed the reading of the instructions, unnecessary. Oh! Oh indeed!

Soak for 8 hours (or overnight). Throw away the water, refill and boil for 30 minutes...Hmmm! Drain, refill and boil for 1 hour 30 minutes... I see... Dispose of the water again. My god this is like cooking raw tripe. Who could of guessed? Noone but that I suppose is the reason why one should at least cast an eye over the instructions.

Well back to the drawing board. Soaked, boiled, boiied again. Cooked a third time with garlic, chilli, fresh ginger, leeks, carrots, onions, shallots, diced swede, white cabbage, shredded spring greens, diced parsnips, you get the picture, I was going to dispose of all the left over veg together with the  soya in one enormous great soup or vegetable hotpot. The results sadly still wern't quite right, so in went fish sauce and chopped frozen basa....

At last. Delicious! Well I thought so. My wife and son wouldn't touch it.

I shan't be buying dried soya chunks again. I've done my best. I met the challenge, nothing was wasted (what about the water, the gas and your time a small voice whispers, what ab out the wasted cupboard space a slightly louder voice, which might have been that of my wife, responds) but I'd ended up using fish to make the dish palatable which I could have done without the soya, indeed without the soya I would have had a very acceptable vegetable soup on its own.

Was listening to Broadcasting House on the Beeb this morning and John Longworth, when talking about his letter of resignation said of  Lord Adonis he "is not elected, he was appointed, doesn't represent anyone". Longworth was promptly contradicted by Paddy O'Connell who said emphatically "He was elected, he was a minister, he was an MP" and then went on to suggest Adonis's views were therefore somehow more valid than those of either himself or John Longworth. Surprisingly Longworth backed down and conceded the point.

At first I thought this was just very sloppy journalism, that O'Connell had misremembered his facts and Longworth had become confused, but the more I think about the more certain I become that this was deliberate misdirection.

When you take the statement apart, that which as whole is untrue, becomes largely true as it is examined in detail.

Adonis was elected, not as an MP but as a Social Democrat councillor on Oxford City Council in 1987,  Yes Adonis was a Minister, as a Tony Blair political appointee. Adonis was given a life peerage by Blair to make him eligible for Government office by the back door. 

Even the third bit is sort of true. As a member of the House of Lords Adonis is not a "Member of Parliament" as such, not an elected member of the House of Commons, entitled to put MP after his name but, taken with a large pinch of salt, he could be described as  a "member"of (a bicameral) parliament sitting in the Lords.

Seems to me that O'Donnell, who would know which contributors were coming up and the issues to which they would speak, had chosen his words carefully in order to diminish Longworth's contribution and promote a view to which the Beeb's political editors largely subscribe.  Even if I'm wrong and it was after all just bad research, the affect of this kind journalism, by the nations most trusted news and current affairs network, is pernicious.

Clifford W Fulford 31/12/2017.

Good grief. It happened already! Was I just being percipient or have I in some way precipitated this alarming turn of events?

You only have to read the outpourings of these poor lost souls to see the error of your ways. But they are not alone Fred.

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