- My goodness! …I’m really hungry – mumbled Phileas Fogg.
- Sir, it has been 80 days since we had a decent meal after departing from London to win that bet, am I right? – replied Passepartout.
- Indeed my dear friend, I think it’s high time we treated ourselves with a tremendous feast.
- Well – said Passepartout – with all the knowledge gathered from our travel, we could…
- Prepare our own feast! – Interrupted Phileas – That’s a lovely idea! – He shouted.
- But how should we start? – Passepartout asked.
- Good question, let’s recall the recipes we learned while travelling, as they were told to us in our trip.
- In that case, Schnitzel with chips is the first recipe I can recall. If I am not mistaken, that’s pork meat covered with bread crumbs and for the chips, well, potatoes obviously.
-“Do not forget the slices of lemon! It’s for a better taste”. Those were the words the German linguist gave me. – Said Phileas.
- What about the trip from Bombay to Calcutta? – Enquired Passepartout - A very nice man from south India gave me his recipe to prepare curry with rice Kerala style.
- Do you mean the curry that is prepared with chicken and boiled eggs? – Questioned Fogg.
- Exactly that one! Do you still remember the recipe for the side dish?
- I assume you are referring to the salad that had tomatoes, coriander, red onion and yoghurt.
- Precisely! The fresh salad would be a perfect dish as a second course – added Passepartout.
As soon as Passepartout finished speaking, a loud and persistent knock was heard from the outside. Afraid of receiving unpleasant visitors, Phileas used the peephole in the door. It was Neil O’Coddel, his most trusted friend from the Reform Club.
- What can I do for you Neil? – Replied Phileas from the inside.
- Phileas! I finally found you! Your feat has gained international attention! Ambassador Liang from China wants to meet the man who achieved the unachievable! Please let us in!
As both men entered to Phileas Fogg’s house, he informed them about the dinner that was about to happen:
- Perfect timing gentlemen! We are about to enjoy a feast. – As he told his plan he turned to the Chinese ambassador and asked – I understand that hot pot is a very traditional form of having dinner in China, am I right?
- Yes, you are Mr. Fogg, but, do you have the adequate pot for doing that? – Replied the ambassador.
- Well, I have this one – Said Fogg as he pointed at the table.
The ambassador looked at it with disbelief and asked – Do you really know how to use it?
- I think I knew, until you made that question.
- This is a different type of hot pot. It is for making soup-type preparations. I presume that you met a man from the Sichuan province, but you forgot to ask him about the different types of hot pots.
- Perhaps that’s what happened Mr. Ambassador. Please accept my apologies.
The ambassador looked at Fogg as if it were a kid that just realised about his mistakes and said:
- Do not worry Mr. Fogg, if you allow me, I will help you to prepare the most delicious hot pot you have ever tried and if you do not mind, I will also prepare a delicious rice with green raisins from Xinjiang, my hometown.
Fogg smiled. – That is a great idea indeed! Then as you prepare those dishes Passepartout will help us with the sweet chicken wings and the ginger, mushroom and herbs chicken soup.
- Well that’s amazing Mr. Fogg! - replied the amazed Ambassador – You really learned a great variety of Chinese dishes.
- Modesty aside, it was not me, it was Passepartout.
Passepartout said nothing, he only gave a confident smile to the Ambassador nodded with his head and simply added:
- Believe it or not Mr Ambassador, being a valet is more than just helping Mr Fogg in his most basic errands. It requires acquiring skills and knowledge that I would have never expected to come across.
- Uhm, Phileas – interrupted Neil - I hope you do not mind, but I am also expecting more people to arrive today. Two friends from the other side of the Atlantic Ocean arrived yesterday.
- Do you mean two Americans? – Asked Phileas.
- If by American you mean people from the Americas, the continent, then indeed, two Americans. But if you are talking about their country of origin, then one is from the United States and the other is Mexican. I have to insist my friend, making such a big feat has increased your popularity to every corner of the world.
Phileas Fogg looked perplexed about his friend’s explanation, he was about to lecture him about the Americas, the continent, and America, the country, when a knock on the door was heard.
- Speaking of the Devil! – Shouted Neil – It must be them. Passepartout, could you please get the door?
- Certainly Sir – answered the valet.
As soon as the door opened, Phileas heard a familiar sound. It reminded him to those social events filled with gentlemen, good manners, waltz music but on top of that…
- Long dresses? Neil the friends you told me a moment ago are…
- Ladies! – Shouted Neil – I am so glad you could join us!
- Oh Neil, it has been ages! – Said the woman with a lovely Californian accent.
- Precisely Neil! How come you never went back to Mexico to try my grandmother’s mole recipe?
- That is simple Rita – replied to the Mexican woman - I wanted you to bring your grandmother’s recipe to prepare mole here to the United Kingdom, I wanted Mr Fogg to try it.
- Mole? What is that Miss Rita? – Asked Phileas.
- The most delicious dish you will ever eat Mr Fogg! – answered promptly Rita – But if you want a full description, it is a dish made with chicken and a sauce prepared with various chillies, we usually eat it with red rice to enhance its flavour. But you should definitely try one of Agatha’s filled peppers.
- Oh Rita! Always kind with your words! – Answered Agatha – My dish is completely different Mr Fogg. I used red, green and yellow peppers filled with beef meat, feta cheese and vegetables. We were able to bring these delicious dishes because you proved that travelling from one side of the world to the other is not as dangerous as anyone would think.
- Well Miss Agatha and Miss Rita, I am thankful for your tokens of recognition. Both will be great additions to the feast that Passepartout and I were preparing. So, if you do not have anything to do please…
…and just like that I woke up from one of the most delicious dreams I have ever had in my life. Perhaps the dinner my flatmates and I organized the night before was responsible for having all this food-related dreams filled with a few non-canonical and anachronistic references to Jules Verne’s book Around the World in 80 Days. Perhaps I just wanted to mix characters with my blog entry and make it look brighter, but what I can really say, is that I had an amazing night of sharing food, culture, jokes and friendship.
This blog is dedicated to the amazing flatmates I see every day at the kitchen for breakfast, lunch, dinner and any other meal in between.