If petite bread rolls deliver doughy joy then the frisson when these are also hot from the oven is seismic. Surely a clear sign of a caring god, or at least, reliable electricity.
This unexpected bliss began our Friday night meal at the Crown Hotel. Driving into Victor Harbor as the wide bay swims into happy view I wondered how our boys hadn’t been here previously for an extended visit yet had holidayed to the Bavarian Alps, artistic Left Bank in Paris and Murray Bridge’s world-class Bunyip.
Having checked-in at our caravan park digs and positively appraised the bunk beds, bouncy pillow and decidedly unappealing pool we drove to Warland Reserve with its twin pubs standing sentinel over the foreshore.
Upon presenting our boisterous trio at the bistro, the pub staff now appraised us silently and then did what I’d do which is to quarantine us in a marginalised corner away from the quiet, undeserving diners. In hospitality circles I’m sure this is some form of pre-emptive damage control. There was an American college football game on TV, but disappointingly it didn’t feature Purdue. It was Boise, Idaho’s finest.
Our boys were drawn instantly and they assured me, ravenously, to the salad and vegetable bar. It would’ve been easier to stop an aspiring reality television star (read: talentless, vacuous twit) from taking a selfie.
Pleasingly, their lemonades were served in sturdy plastic cups. You know, the coloured models that you used at your cousins’ place for cordial after you’d been running about or chucking rocks at your footy, now stuck at the top of a eucalypt.
As a fan of haute cuisine Max chose the Italian Hawaiian Irish fusion. Unfortunately, when his ham and pineapple pizza and chips arrived, despite his father’s sobbing implorations, he was chock-a-block with hot bread rolls. I had the pizza on Saturday, save for the solitary bite Max had taken.
Boise was constantly handing the ball back to their opponents as they couldn’t get their passing or running games to fire. Out the window, and across the reserve I could see the lights of the amusements and the Ferris wheel.
I trusted that the compulsory mangy dog would be there, wandering and weeing and roaming about in a vaguely menacing way when we visited in the morning and like a drunk bookie, I forked over wads of cash to a carnie.
As a ten-year-old Alex is on the cusp of moving from kid’s meals to adult portions, and this causes me emotional if not fiscal despair. But tonight, he’s happy to tackle the nuggets and chips.
When served they’re not the traditional ones shaped as rectangles or ovals: these are in the form of dinosaurs confirming what archaeologists having been telling us forever which is that if we visit Jurassic Park, take down a T-Rex, and cook it, it will, of course, taste like chicken. He inhales them as if he’ll soon need the energy to outrun a velociraptor.
Continuing our involuntary theme of transmogrified chicken my Kiev arrives. It’s been a while and my excitement had risen, like that of a rooster when sunrise is imminent over the henhouse.
While the Ukrainian geography of my chook was nebulously accurate I think its origins were not in Kiev but more precisely 142 kilometres to the north of the capital in Chernobyl.
I suspect the meal may have come directly from reactor number 4 itself. How else to explain the impossibly dry and disastrously crunchy properties, other than thermonuclear accident?
I felt especially sorry for the cold garlic butter that had presumably been once trapped in this poor poultry, all trace now gone, doubtless a victim of irradiation’s cruel physics. I may have been better off with the amusement park hound.
Luckily, I hadn’t downloaded a Geiger counter app to my phone or it would’ve now been clicking away like a barn full of tap-dancers, attempting a world record.
Still, we all survived and retired to our cabin. The footy was about to start and the weekend was upon us. We were in front.
Afterall, we’d had hot bread rolls.