Planned Obsolescence

Cashel Blue roasted chestnuts buckwheat crepe and celeriac soup

It has been a bit of a strange week, with mixed feelings. It started last Sunday December 3rd; I was on my way to Dublin for a very special evening, my last day out, a night to remember or rather help me forget how busy the next 21 days are going to be. I was listening to P.J Harvey, “Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea”, already looking forward to a rare evening with my friend Domi, and a much older friend that I didn’t see in 20 years, Mr Robert Plant himself, former frontman of the legendary band Led Zeppelin; well, he’s not really my friend, but he is the same age as my Dad and was part of our musical family since I was a very little boy… My rambling mind, smiling face and tapping index finger on the stirring wheel got suddenly interrupted by a rattling noise coming from the engine. I remember saying something like “Fuck!”, four letters that basically resumed what was about to come… No car? No concert?No Domi?No Robert? All was normal, temperature was steady, there was oil in the car as I always make sure all is good before I do a decent journey. Then all hell broke loose, red lights and alarm blaring, I thought “this is my Sully moment” as I made a crash landing to my own Hudson River, aka the hard shoulder between Dunshaughlin and Dunboyne. So close… Yet ( all in unison) so far… I breathed out another “Fuck!”, this time, it was acceptance. On the bright side, and since I was a young boy, I have always wondered what those orange S.O.S phones looked like and since I managed to safely taxi my vehicle close to one, I was about to find out! Well, it’s just a green button and a giant speaker. The chap was very helpful, letting them know I was there; I had insurance to get picked up, but that would mean no concert. Tried the car again, gone, full engine failure. My last resort was “my guy”, the owner of a garage/ shop a mile or so from the house, 80 kms away… Sunday at 4:10 pm. I rang Mr “M” and he just said: ” hey buddy, where are you? Ok, I’ll be there in 40 minutes ( yeah right, but I wasn’t in a negotiating position here), you said you are on the Dublin side? Ok, I’d better bring you a car as well so…”. One hour and 15 minutes later, there he was, bright orange flashing lights, a car on top of the rescue truck, out it went, mine went on, here are the keys and “I’ll see you tomorrow”. I would be able to meet my friend in good time, and see my auld pal “Robert”. As I sat in the “new” car, trying to figure out where the wipers and lights commands were, I just whispered a very respectful “fuck”, this one was more admiration and relief…

Rob 2
Robert Plant
Rob 3
Franckie and Domi
Rob 4
Robert Plant and some of the “Space Shifters”

Back to the garage on Monday, after a wonderful night, reality came back with a bang. “You need a new engine, that is the best thing to do now” said Mr “M”; his son confirmed that some cars, more often than none, might see their engine “self-destruct” after a certain period of time or mileage. A now common practice called “planned obsolescence”… What a beautiful term to force the milking cows that we are to flush out more cash into the greedy and merciless capitalism machine; the big corpos needed to find a way and they did. Where I am really pissed off is the fact that it could have had some serious consequences, forcing me to be stranded on a motorway at night for an hour and a half, when you know that your life expectancy in such an environment is only about 15 minutes… I guess I did ok. It has to be one of the loneliest place to be, and quite an unpleasant experience, bringing back some dark memories of a marooned teenager-hitchhiker, miles, miles miles, miles away from home. We started to be very busy at work and the weather was to turn for a more festive look, making driving conditions quite interesting!

Winter drive to work – Loughcrew, Oldcastle
The Hills of Loughcrew

Apart from running a food and cheese shop, we also offer an online service which gets pretty intense this time of year. We also have to organise a Christmas Fair; I am not a big fan of the festive season, but I decided to be more positive. You kind of have to. Not only the place is incredibly cold, but for me it is crucial to allocate enough time for a quick lunch, like that veggie organic fry I did on Wednesday, with roasted mushrooms, tomatoes and my “egg in the oven”, with olive oil for the perfect yolk… ( keep an eye on it, this happens quickly!)…

Veggie fry with Milleens cheese

And on Friday, up to our noses, I used some leftovers pieces of cheese, white wine and spices for a quick “fondue” style with some sourdough bread… Sorry Switzerland, I didn’t have time to go traditional…

Quick fondue
A bit of white wine

But what’s most important for me, either if it is before going on a road trip or facing a busy day, is breakfast. You never know what might happen! I know I often make my traditional buckwheat crepes and I must say that it always sees me safe if I have to skip lunch, or face a crisis… My car won’t be ready for another few days, the “new” engine takes a bit of time to install I guess. There goes my Christmas present, after working so hard to contribute to the happiness of others. I am cool with that, I just won’t take part in the manic dance this year, that machine is greedy enough, a tear drop in the ocean, but it makes me feel better. Recipe for the crepe and celeriac soup coming soon, until then, have all a lovely Christmas if I don’t see you before! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Festive Baubles
Recipe coming soon

Keep Well and Eat Happy!




13 thoughts on “Planned Obsolescence

  1. Oops – dรฉsole! The car thing is my biggest dread. You may recall that mine is yellow and called Franck. Which is what drew me to you in the first place (weird is my middle name – odd is my first and strange my surname). Franck has currently got 183,399 mils (miles not km) on his clock. I constantly worry. I layer anxiety on anxiety and now I read this and I am so so sorry that it happened to you. But I am also so so happy with those dishes …. the fondue (had one yesterday in Annecy ….par mal), the fry complete with Milleens … why would any other ever do and those pancakes and delights I canโ€™t even list. I am no longer hungry having licked the screen dry. Thank you my friend. I am spending Christmas taking the unentitled old to Christmas Eve dinner and donning a Santa hat to serve their meal and talk and laugh and make merry with them and make sure they are loved and laughing. On the 25th I am wandering the streets handing out parcels I have made up (food goes in at the last minute, no booze) and hoping they will like what I have done. I canโ€™t stand the commercialisation of what was once quite a nice celebration of a bloke who I don;t deify but think was probably quite decent.

    1. Haha… I always enjoy your comments; yes, it is not a nice thing to happen ( carrement chiant en fait). I’ll be on my own for Christmas, after the madness. Well, with my furry friends ๐Ÿ™‚ No biggy, it’s better that way!

      1. Same here. Just me and The Bean …. I remember when we had Wells Stores our cheese business just how insane this time of year was – bon courage a tous and enjoy the rest when it eventually arrives. We used to hightail it to France on January 2nd every year and drive down to Arles to see my parents-in-law. The Camargue on a windy January day was a very good tonic indeed

  2. Makes me wanna burn Renault, Seat, Volvo or whoever perpetrated that s**t. Makes me really angry how they are programming us to get rid of perfectly good things just by planning their obsolescence. Take Iphones for example… the epitome of this nasty trend! You take on fondue though, looks ace!

  3. Not sure about your conspiracy theory, but I’m quite sure that cars used to break a lot in socialist/communist economies as well… As you said, at least it didn’t happen in a dangerous/secluded place.
    The food looks fabulous as always. Love what you did with the leftover cheeses. I’m going to steal the idea, as I know I’ll have leftover cheeses after the holidays. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Hi Ronit, I am afraid this is no conspiracy, but a well known trend in the industry ( and the Phone industry too). An idea born in Japan I believe. Confirmed by two mechanics last week ๐Ÿ˜‰ Yes, that express fondue is great for a quick fix, poured on potatoes is just the biz. Thanks for reading! ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. Yes, I’m sure they benefit from it. And sometimes things just break after a while. Us included! ๐Ÿ˜€
        I like the idea of pouring the fondue over potatoes. Maybe I’ll add some cornichons, like the Swiss do with Raclette… Now I’m getting hungry! ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Oh my lanta! Is there anything worse than car trouble? I’d argue not. Please you made it to your show, though. What fun! I’d also like to swan dive into this fondue.

  5. All these dishes look yummy. The traditional buckwheat crepe looks as sensational as usual, and your fondue surely is flavorsome – I agree that any cheese leftovers can do. Sorry about your car incident, but at least it gives a good excuse to write a post. Merry Christmas!

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