fast food – latkes
Boulder, June 1989, 5.40 pm.
Potato Pancakes (Latkes) with chili and cumin.
Ravesy has lived in a large tin shed off Broken Head road since the day in 1973 LB the Lawyer decided he needed a hand gun to keep his local clients from killing him before they went to jail. Being importers with a few custom problems. His problem in a nutshell.
Big fellow is Ravesy, big head, big mop of snowy hair, big body as hard as a barrel of cement and a generous limp earned on the day when the protruding tailgate of a tar-truck going north met his bare right thigh going south. Hospital management at the time reckoned cornering at 175 kph on his TPV Vincent 1200 around Sugar Cane Road was a little too strong for the conditions. The tar-truck didn’t stop, its load of Ravesy’s thigh meat lost to conjecture and Queensland blowflies.
Ravesy likes to cook and repair surfboards rather than ride them, and being an old time Byron man he’s partial to a little bushy before dinner – and he likes to show off his deflanked thigh to anyone sharing the table.
Bit of a wake-up that is for his dinner guests, and not so good for the appetite.
Latkes are on the menu tonight, and the big lad has fired up a good-sized blaze in a cut down 44-gallon drum. He’s using the grill of a Chrysler 300/300c as a grill top, which makes sense, and for his pans he’s got a couple of full moon hubcaps, nicely chromed.
Bit of a collector is Ravesy; stuff abandoned or owned, the old boy carries his toolkit like a mobile phone. Always ready for the call.
Four spuds, two boiled soft, two grated fine and squeezed dry, and both mashed together with an egg and enough milk to produce a mixture that makes for a smooth pour, a little flour for glue.
Now Ravesy’s not one for poncing about with a lot of girly herbs and spices, but a little salt and cumin mixed into the Latke together with one of his chopped up home grown fire chilies is the way to go here, everytime.
Sitting up here on the rise waiting on a feed we can all see the black eyes travelling around Lennox Head, the hollows of waves rounding the point and peeling away into the gloom of the beach. Sometimes six lines, sometimes eight.
Rare days these, and days when the big man goes a little silent despite the choof, and he buries himself into Poe, tonight it’s A Tale of Ragged Mountains and the Latke when it comes, has been fried in hot butter and olive oil and when done he has folded it over with a cover of parmesan cheese and black pepper.
A couple of years ago his quack had him come down to Adelaide to check on some malignant bone growth in his bad leg, just as Phillip Glass was premiering his Descent into Maelstrom – a Edgar Allen Poe inspiration.
They never met; Ravesy decided that an exhibition of Eugene Boudin, Vanessa Bell and Lucien Pissarro at the local gallery had more merit.
What had everybody mystified was that he didn’t come home for five months, and he still won’t let on where he went.