Thursday, 12 January 2017
Dill in Mustard Sauce?
“But dill is a herb!” My wife looked at me in such a way she did not need to use the word ‘stupid’. I still thought I was right.
“They’re little fish - dill in mustard sauce.”
She began to sound exasperated. “It’s a herb. You wouldn’t get dill in mustard sauce. That would be like having basil in Worcestor sauce or parsley in pineapple marinade.”
I sighed. “There was a tin in one of those Christmas hampers your mother gets from the pension company: a tin of dill in mustard sauce. They were little fish. She gave it to us and they were really nice.”
“Are you sure it wasn’t sild?”
“No it was definitely dill. As in a shoal of dill.”
The dictionary made no mention of dill as a fish, only as Anethum graveolens, a European, pungent, aromatic, umbelliferous, annual yellow-flowered herb of the celery family Apiaceae, used in flavouring pickles or to relieve excess wind, although in Australia and New Zealand it colloquially means a fool. I said we should get a better dictionary.
At Christmas, I can usually guess my presents before I unwrap them, but this one had me wondering. It was too hard for a paperback and the wrong shape for a DVD. In the end I had to unwrap it without guessing. It was two tins of John West herring fillets in mustard and dill sauce.