|photo: Sue Gill|
I'm not sure who else she's told about the eel and since I don't really count as I'm not invited to her shrivening supper, and I'm sure you haven't been either, it's quite safe to reveal what I think she'll serve up, being one for enjoying extensive menus and ceremony.
I suspect, she like me is, relieved at the thought of some practical flotsam again, something we can do stuff with. Weeks have passed, many of them stormy, since we've had any usable firewood wash up. I don't know why. Plenty of trees must have come down in the winds and there can't have been that much of an increase of people snaffling them upriver for their own burners. Possibly councils have been more vigilant about cutting down trees with the storms, or the by-pass has required a more thorough felling programme.
Either way it's pancake day and I see it as no coincidence a five foot long eel washed up on her beach, which, while dead, still looked as though it had had a healthy life and, more importantly for her plates, a sturdy circumference.
She didn't exactly ask, but I got the feeling she wanted some ideas for toppings that might go down well with the eel. While I'm no gourmet I'm happy to chat, over our virtual fence, about possible flavour combinations: Creamy mash and black peppered onions or beetroot roasted with cumin seeds for savoury options.
And a toasted coconut meringue and whipped cream or the unbeatable lemon and sugar for dessert.
Slice thickness is quite crucial for the success of each dish: the thinner the better, for crispiness rather than flobbiness, apart from the mash/pepper version which would be more than literally elevated by a good 12mm steak beneath it.
But unless another eel appears our side of the bay I'm not going to know for sure how well these combinations go down, or if she even took my advice. She's a woman of her own devices. I wouldn't put it past her to make a short pair of wellies from it, if I didn't already know she wasn't a wellie-wearer.