Yesterday, I returned to the dentist to have my tricky tooth checked out and to have a small filling in the other side of my mouth. The filling was fine, but left me with half of my mouth numb and the other half still in pain from before, which made eating logistically impossible. The tooth that has plagued me for the last five weeks apparently (according to my dentist) just 'needs time to bed down'; if it doesn't 'settle' (again, his words, not mine) then the choices are root canal work or extraction. You can imagine how cheered I felt as I left the dentist. Worse than that, though, I felt somewhat despairing, because the television was on in the waiting-room (which also irritates me, because it distracts from reading or planning classes, which is what I was trying to do), showing a programme I'd never seen but that appeared to be a British version of Jerry Springer, with an argument over which of two men was the father of a baby leading to a DNA test, the results of which were delivered live to the studio. I know these programmes exist; I used to watch their predecessors (Kilroy, Vanessa, eventually Trisha) sometimes when I was a student and kept the television on as wallpaper while I wrote endless essays. I just choose not to watch them because they are so disheartening and distasteful. One man didn't want to be the father and turned out to be; the other, who had been looking after the baby, was longing to be the biological father and of course wasn't. Both cried; the mother was stony-faced (apart from when she threatened to beat up her best friend for a crime I can't recall). I was almost glad to begin the dental work simply to get away from the vile programme (which seemed to be called the Jeremy Kyle show or something akin) and the message it was sending me about contemporary British society. I was less repulsed by the characters exposing their sordid lives on camera than the idea that people actually watch this kind of charade. A lot of daytime television is trash, admittedly, but what's wrong with the sort of frothy This Morning format for mindless entertainment?
Fastforwarding a full day's work to last night, I decided to make Scotch stovies again. I had made them once before but they didn't colour properly; apparently I didn't brown the onion for long enough. This time, I was more careful. The method is described here from my last attempt, so I won't go through it all again. Suffice it to say that this time I got more colour, although not as much as Jamie's picture.
It didn't matter - the stovie was really nice, very tasty. We served it with hake fillets topped with tapenade and baked in the oven (a simplification of a Rick Stein recipe), plus spinach and it worked well as a combination for an easy weekday dinner. Fortunately my mouth was no longer numb so I could appreciate it.
Here's to hoping that the tricky tooth 'settles in' soon!