Being drunk is a curious thing. It’s curious, because firstly you don’t try and dry-hump a lamp-post when you’re just having an orange juice. Secondly, being drunk also means having to Eventually Be Sober – which is just horrible. Being suddenly sober is crappy in a way only comparable with men who wear leather waistcoats, couples who feed each other cheesecake in public and people who laugh loudly and disproportionately at newspaper articles that you know for a fact aren’t that funny.
…just in case you were wondering, all three of those things are in fact within five feet of me right now, are more annoying than a seasonal novelty dance-move and have plunged my mood straight to I Will Stab You.
I think it’s why the French and Italians are so good at being drunk. You pair up their lower-in-alcohol wine (traditionally 11% to 12.5% as opposed to our reds which sometime top out at 16% – a case in point being a Zorgfliet I had recently that was like drinking a salami), and their starch-and-sauce heavy food and those guys are ready to rip it until someone punches them in the face just to get them to stand still for a bit. Us, not so much. Our thirst is strong, and we tend to think Protein is the solution to everything.
There’s a fantastic moment at any party which I call ‘carb o’clock’, where suddenly, everything that even vaguely looks like you can eat it is fair game. This is usually where people start licking bovril out the bottle and smashing dry packet soup in their faces like its cake. A case in point being a birthday piss-up I was at recently, where a massive pot of french onion soup (which in itself is a fairly odd thing to have at a party) was taken down so comprehensively by tequila-fueled Professor Plums and Miss Scarlets (it was a Cluedo-themed dress-up) that I’m pretty sure at one point someone was cradling the pot in a corner and singing it nursery rhymes while keeping everyone else at bay with a rifle.
The next morning is of course where the wheels fall off, which the day after the French Onion Bash – they did. This is where if you don’t have a solid rescue-plan in place – you’re going to have what’s technically termed A Fucking Horrible Day.
Enter the buffet.
The Sunday buffet is the best possible thing in these circumstances and it was in search of just such a monster that I recently re-stumbled (it’d been years since I’d last gone) across the fantastic La Rustica in Houghton, Johannesburg (103 Houghton Drive – 011 728 2092). Tables literally groaning with antipasti, a second table laden with a giant Kabeljou (the size of a comfortable three-seater couch), a vast array of pastas, three (yes…THREE) lambs roasting on spits outside, and that most Italian of things…Yorkshire pudding. It was totally the land at the top of the Faraway Tree that Enid Blyton never got round to describing. Probably because she was too busy thinking up new names for pixies that were always Winky, for some reason.
Never have three more desperately in-need people slumped down at a table, ordered themselves a Bloody Mary and then proceeded to eat for about 3 hours straight. It was utterly glorious and restored spirits we didn’t even know we had in the first place. Of course, there’s only one way to do this properly, and that’s to go and chug two liters of wine first, just so that, you know…you too can get the full impact.
Okay, so drinking is a curious thing, but if meals like this are at the end of it, then it’s fine by me…