Many of you have asked (and rightly so), what is a gearhead? It’s a good question, especially posed against the food blog focus. For all you likeminded and unwary gearheads lurking this site for sparkling gems of intelligence on anything related to combustion engines, wheels or road camber, you have, sadly, stumbled upon the wrong site; unless of course you’re a simultaneous gearhead and lover of all things food? Are you out there?
I’ll need to pour myself a drink for this conversation – you know, just to keep things light. Whenever I start to talk about this I find it very difficult to keep the cynicism at bay. Is there an antidote to insidiousness, you ask? Absolutely; the superbly bittersweet [wife edits with a sigh: so apt] knock-you-into-a-state-of-Italian-bliss Negroni – recipe to follow diatribe (you know the drill). I’ll just stick to the facts [gearhead edits: interested to see where this goes].
So I didn’t know what a gearhead was either. Like any slow discovery (a Mayan pyramid lost beneath the jungle or my inability to stop the aging process), the evidence was right before my eyes. I either failed to recognise it or, more likely, failed to understand the implications associated with it. My first clue [wife edits: yes I know, how in the hell did I not grasp the significance?] was this, parked in the gearhead’s driveway when we first met:
Another clue was the tangerine coloured fiat [gearhead edits: a fiat X19] I found myself being chauffeured in. One time it careened round the curve of the freeway on-ramp on only two wheels [gearhead edits: fiat X19s don’t go on two wheels]. Another time it lost all power, including lights, on the same said freeway while travelling at a speed that I refused to acknowledge by simply employing a powerful protective measure: squeezed shut eyes.
Then there was the time we circled a race track in a borrowed porsche. I think I made it round the circuit twice before my muffled screams beneath the helmet were interpreted correctly as “Let me the F#@&! Out!”
I started to become suspicious when an old convertible beatle with more rust than metal made it into our hired moving-across-the-country truck before any of our other possessions. A steady succession of cars with the promise of a revolving door of purchases and sales started to become alarming – the space around our home looks like we’ve always got lots of people over for a party.
I almost broke after a Renault Alpine arrived [wife edits: on a bloody float truck!] [gearhead edits: a Renault Alpine A310 in a moving van from Halifax, bought on ebay, site unseen.][gearhead edits: do you know how much that car is worth?! It’s like an original Cezanne!] [wife edits: yeah? how many bloody mountains did he paint? One – hundreds of times! Original is subjective. Obviously this is still a contentious issue. This drink isn’t working. Stick to the facts].
You know you married a gearhead when you look out your front window and see this parked in your driveway:
So this cocktail will have you taking a trip to the liquor store for the ingredients – I can’t think of other reasons to drink sweet vermouth [wife edits: except yes I can…manhattan, that scotch thing I overdosed on last Robbie Burns Day – but who doesn’t mind a leisurely saunter down the aisles to stock up on survival provisions?] [wife edits: calm down public health peeps …I’m using creative liberties – no alcohol was consumed creating that last sentence; moderation in all things, including restrictions, crikey!].
Though this cocktail recipe is ubiquitous across the internet, it really grabbed my attention after I purchased a most beautiful cookbook, Polpo, also a restaurant in London.
Negroni for one:
25 ml gin (close enough to 2 tablespoons)
25 ml Campari
25 ml Sweet Vermouth
A slice of orange
Russell Norman writes not to mess with the proportions, they are perfect as they are. Fill a small tumbler with ice. Pour the ingredients over the ice, stir once or twice and add a slice of orange. Mmmmmm, perfection.
Following my better judgement [gearhead edits: I thought you downed that with the contents of your glass] I am resisting the temptation to offer up a wine pairing to go with this cocktail.
Russell Norman, this is such a delicious drink, you can come over to our house for dinner anytime, even though you’re not Italian. [gearhead edits: dark frown][wife edits: of course I mean you AND your wife and kids][gearhead edits: how many of those have you had?] [wife edits: only one. They are remarkably effective.]