Patriotism can be seen as a dirty word these days. How often do you hear someone yell angrily across the office “Don’t PATRONISE me!” before heaving a sandwich at them? Hundreds of times, that is how many – too many times to keep an accurate count that is for sure.
The thing is though, patriotism has its place. Even the most bearded of us can’t help wincing with national pride as our national sports team beats another, stupider, country . Even people who eat kale expel fluid when a war is declared, even if it is at the thought of all that stirring poetry which will doubtless be written. Despite my sagely countenance I confess to being unsure if a fart was something stronger when New Zealand won the Rugby World Cup.
Patriotism stirs something deep inside all of us and sometimes the reaction is involuntary.
Patriotism is like dubstep. Sometimes it is annoying and repetitive and it hints at something darker. Sometimes however, it is all-enveloping and stirs something deep inside all of us.
Very few of us will ever play sport to a national level or fight in a war, but there are things we can do to show off our national pride. Some of those things are tasty.
In this weblog bulletin your Master of Ceremonies will be making a dish that is healthy, tasty and fun.
First get some cold pork slices out of the fridge form the pork slices you cooked the previous evening. Preferably use the ones that will lie flat and aren’t all gnarled and lumpy.
This will be the base of your toastie. Now, I hear some of you tittering out there in computer land and as I focus my hearing, I can make out the general whisper of “where’s the bread?” so I’ll address that up front: these are healthy toasties. Bread, because it is full of carbohydrates, preservatives, and is quite often covered in mould, is not good for you. Pork, because it is natural, is. So shut your tittering, titterers.
Next you go next door and borrow some cheese. The best way to do this is not to mention that you want to borrow cheese at all but rather to knock on your neighbours door and when they answer it say “Hey, I need to check your fridge for…” then mumble something, pushing past them into their house and into the kitchen. Once in the kitchen, open the fridge, look inside it, and then say “Phew, that’s all right then” but as you do this, nab their block of cheese and stuff it up under your sweater-vest, then exit the house muttering things like “You can’t be too careful…” and “ebola…”. Now I know what you titterers are thinking, but its not stealing. You are going to use maybe half of it and then chuck the block of cheese back through the cat-door. It’s a win-win. So shut up.
The cheese is crucial to the next part of the operation as well as taste. The cheese is the medium in which you sculpt your patriotic art. Neatly cut the cheese (okay, yes, we get it, very funny, but you do realise no-one in this part of the world uses the term ‘cut the cheese’ to refer to trumping don’t you…). Maybe cut it in the shape of your flag (maybe not if you are Libyan or Japanese – people won’t really get it), the shape of your national bird, a shape depicting a scene for your nation’s greatest battle or Reality TV show. In my case I chose the map of New Zealand; its distinctive beautiful isles rendered perfectly in cheese, as you can see to the right. Brings a tear to my eye.
You can even mix and match, or if your friends don’t all belong to the same national grouping, do a bunch of them for different countries.
Now, because you forgot to do this before you started sculpting your nationalistic masterpieces, light the grill. While you are waiting for it to heat up, you could pass the time by drunkenly singing a rousing rendition of your country’s national anthem. In our case, Lorde’s ‘Royals’.
Once the grill has fired to the requisite heat intensity place your patriotic toastie under it and cook until the cheese is golden brown and starting to bubble like a Rotorua mud-pool (for our international readers, the Rotorua mud-pools are some hot mud that tourists like).
You might choose to open a bottle of your country’s cheapest wine at this point. Tosh that it’s seven in the morning: this is an occasion of national import!
Once the toastie has been grilled now is the time to get creative again: toppings. Now, obviously I’m not going to tell you how to live your life but I will suggest, in keeping with the patriotic theme, you should use toppings and garnishings that are associated with your countryfolk. I chose ‘tomato sauce’ (yes, ‘ketchup’) for mine because tomatos are New Zealand’s main export.
If you are Japanese you may wish to top it with wasabi (actually, that would be pretty ruddy bad-ass), if you are German, sausage. If you are American, you may wish to put bits of your last iPhone around the toastie as a garnish to represent the shifting focus on the US economy from hard manufacturing to technology.
Now, a few of you may be wondering “All this is tasty and healthy but isn’t it a bit, y’know…” and when I prompt you to elaborate you may wonder “…racist?”
The short answer to that is no. The long answer is ‘no’ and I storm off without explaining.
If I were to do a patriotic toastie for another nationality, then charges of racism could be made. Especially if I garnished it with say vomit or motor-oil. The implication would be I was saying to another nationality that their country was ‘sick’ and ‘covered in motor-oil’ which would be very racist indeed.
You can’t be racist to yourself.
Now you have a patriotic outlet that is creative, yummy, and healthy and there’s no need to get that tattoo or wear that t-shirt you think is funny but is actually very menacing.