Monday, November 16

Celebrity Gossip part I

Some of my readers are feeling toyed with, a couple of my posts have mentioned famous people and it is felt that I am holding back - I should stop teasing and start spilling beans.

I have worked for quite a lot of famous people but there are some problems with telling stories about them:

a) The people that I think are famous are probably unknown outside the UK

b) The best stories would get someone into trouble (mostly me)

c) Famous people aren’t necessarily gossip-worthy – hey guess what! David Attenborough is a really nice man and he’s not that keen on guacamole*

Ok - here’s a Paul McCartney story:
Macca was due for lunch at the studio where I was working, his wife Linda was coming too and we were all a bit nervous. The main door to the studio was also the kitchen door - my job was effectively cook/receptionist and I was trying to get the place tidied up before the celebrities arrived.

The rubbish bin liner was overfull and was wedged in it's container so I got one of the engineers to hold the bin while I hauled at the sack. We were at maximum strain when four things happened simultaneously:

1 the door opened and the McCartneys walked into the kitchen

2 the liner popped out of the bin and I fell backwards

3 a mouse was flung out of the bin, into the air landing briefly on me before running away

4 everybody screamed

then we all laughed, the ice was broken and we seemed set for a comfortable vegetarian lunch. During the meal Linda started getting a bit ranty about the cruelty of fishing. The engineer got the devil in him and changed the subject by saying how delicious my tart was - everyone agreed and made yummy noises, then he said

And she's not just good at veggie stuff, we all had a bit of the goat she killed last week and that was great too

I had in fact recently slaughtered one of my goats and shared it with my colleagues so I couldn’t deny this and the atmosphere went icy.

My punishment came the following week. Linda had recently expanded her range of pretend meat products (TVP sausages and mince) and she had written an accompanying recipe book. She sent some recipes to the studio head, asking if the cook would try them out on the studio guests and fill in reports about how well they went down. Everyone hated them and I had to bribe the testees with extra special cakes whenever I made a Linda Lunch.

* Actually I do have an Attenborough story – the last time I saw Mr A was at an event at London's Natural History Museum. Towards the end of the evening he led me through the museum’s corridors until he found the specimen he was looking for – He grabbed my arm and pointed up at a big old fossil and said

Look! Attenborosaurus Bakker – how cool is that?

then he said

Right must go - Goodnight!

and he danced backwards down the corridor waving at me as he disappeared out of sight.


  1. "pretend meat products"

    This is what I don't get about some vegetarians. Why the faux meat like tofu turkey, soy burgers, etc? I mean, really. Just eat the goddamn vegetables and be proud of it!

  2. I love that tvp, quorn'n'shit, but it's shatteringly bad for you, about 60% salt.

    Since you struck a culinary note, do you have any advice for those of us trying to grate cheese without grating our knuckles? Every time I say to myself, look here, concentrate and this time you won't grate your knuckles and every time I screw up. Not only does it hurt like sin, it makes the cheese go pink.

  3. Ha! Okay, it's official, Lulu has led the most interesting life of anyone!

    Thanks for great stories!

  4. xl - Yeah - what would the meatarians say if we started serving them chips made of sausage?

    Inky - quite a lot of fat in the tvp stuff too.

    For cheese-grating, as with doing laundry and getting electrical appliances fixed, you probably need to find a woman. I believe there is one in your house (seek her out she might be hiding from you) - even the juvenile version will be able to do this job without self-harming. Don't feel inadequate, it's the sort of thing that few men with an education can manage.

    Mrs Cow - Have you just done a poll?

  5. How come my time in the kitchens of the Super Bee tourist attraction didn't rustle up that sort of excitement? Did I leave the joint too early in my career? I agree with your point on cheese grating although I usually hide during this household activity and let the male member of the family do it... if you get my drift ;-)

  6. Yes, I took Mrs. Cow's poll and it's true -- you have the most interesting life. You slaughtered a goat? How courageous and how timely! Today I saw a young boy walking a goat on a leash down a street in my small town. There is a Greek restaurant or two in town... hmmm...

  7. I agree with xl, indeed what is with the faux meat products with vegetarians? If you are firm in your belief about your choice, then you shouldn't want horrible tofu wieners and hamburger patties. Otherwise, I love your McCartney famille story. And Attenborough seemed pretty much like I'd expect him to be.

  8. Oh I loved this post - I'm a big fan of DA - I think he is a god amongst mortals. I'm glad he is as genuinely nice as he seems on tv.

    More please. Just like people say after one of your tarts.

  9. fill in reports about how well they went down": it makes one wonder how often the folk on such programmes hate the stuff the celebrity chef has made but aren't allowed to say so. What troupers!

  10. I would have screamed bloody murder if a mouse landed on me, never mind who was there or what was going on. Good on you for being able to laugh!

  11. Did someone mention cake?

  12. Cake? Where's the cake disappeared to? Don't you be hiding no cake from me Miz Lulu.....

  13. Oh I just remembered - ages ago, simply months back, you talked about your favourite easy dessert recipe and said you would post it - yes please.

  14. Ange - letting the male member do the cheese grating - I'd pay good money to see that!

    Ana - Sorry I made it sound as though I slaughtered the goat with my own bare hands - I didn't I asked a man with bigger hands to do it.

    Mrwriteon - I am thinking of starting a direct action campaign against all pretend meat products.

  15. Frenchie - DA is a god amongst mortals but we all know that - just ike we know that Gary Glitter's a bit iffy.

    Now that dessert did I say 'favourite easy' or 'favourite lemon"?

    Gadjo Dilo - The Linda's TVP Guinea Pigs were well bribed!

    Scribe - Actually I really like mice but that sort of surprise did make me squeal - but then I squeal when champagne goes off too!

    MJ and Nursey - No cake left - Sorry!

  16. Brilliant, the Linda-story!

    I think you're probably right that a lot of people outside the UK don't know who Attenborough is, even though they'll probably recognise his voice when they hear him.
    It's true, about famous people for some silly reason not being very well known. I'm originally Dutch, but I moved to London about a year ago. I was serving twiglets at a booklaunch (I didn't even know what twiglets were before that party) when a woman with a slightly familiar face was in doubt whether she should take one or not.
    "Have two," I said, "you look hungry!"

    About an hour later, one of my colleagues asked me what I thougth of Joanna Lumley.
    "Who's that?" I asked, and after she was pointed out, I said: "She's cool - she laughed when I said she looked hungry!"

  17. The number of times I've had the "why bother with pretend meat?" conversation...

    Attenborosaurus is an officially-elegant plesiosaur. It's good that he was as chuffed as that with it!

  18. Was the attenborosauraus a carnivore?

  19. I think people misunderstand what 'fake meat' is for. Vegetarianism (in the UK) was never meant to be the food equivalent of wearing a hessian sack.

    I don't like to find out too much about celebrities I like. I was devastated when a news reader I held in high esteem was revealed to be a bawdy lecher. Thank you for the Attenborosaurus story though.

  20. Borah - cool about Twiglet advice to La Lumley - she is also relentlessly lovely, but you know that!

    Kevin - The only time I ever saw Attenborough being other than irrepressably enthusiastic was when he was offered guacomole.

    Ellis - probably an omnivore.

    Glory - I'm with you on not wanting to find out about heros, it's too disappointing to see their clay feet.

  21. Lulu Darling! I have a new laptop - I'll have to write about it soon - and it means I am back tripping the lightfibers fantastic. I am pleased to think I had a part in goading you to tell these stories, which are fabulous. I know you have more. Give.

    I have always loved New Order. I have the famous "Falling Leaf" poster from "1963" hanging in the hallway at the Last House. Now it will remind me of sheperd's pie. (Which I also love).

    I really hope to meet Richard Attenborough one day too, thanks to this.

    _And_ I was thinking of Paul McCartney on the way home tonight! (Thinking that Mrs. McCartney's boy Paul really got the goods, didn't he?) Ooooo, synchronicity.

  22. You could write a very entertaining celebrity tell-all cookbook - if it didn't get you into trouble, of course. I'd pay a decent dollar for the Linda Lunch Cakes recipe.


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