EDAM aka Egg Dressed As Mouse

I’ve always been dubi­ous about food in dis­guise. A whole poached sal­mon with over­lap­ping scales of sliced cucum­ber and a reproach­ful stuffed olive for an eye is more taxi­dermy than din­ner. And a plump brown mound of chicken liver pate dressed up to look like a Christ­mas pud­ding with a sprig of holly on top is plain bad taste. But when my friend Chris­sie pub­lished a book about knit­ting I took a deep breath and threw her a din­ner party with wool-themed recipes. I died spa­ghetti with blue food col­our­ing and, even worse, served balls of moz­zarella speared with pairs of knitting-needle bread sticks. So I’m not com­pletely immune to the tempta­tions of food in fancy dress.

My new but­ter dish, imper­son­at­ing a char­ac­ter from a Geor­gette Heyer novel, has softened me up just a little bit more for food in drag. And, as of yes­ter­day, I’m a reluct­ant devotee. Egg Dressed As Mouse did the trick. I took my daugh­ter and my old­est friend Ali out for a posh lunch at Ray­mond Blanc’s Oxford­shire res­taur­ant Le Manoir Aux Quat’ Sais­ons. As soon as we sat down, Ali and I were treated to del­ic­ate tea­cups of frothy wild gar­lic soup. But my 11 year old daugh­ter was presen­ted with a mouse. Egg Dressed As Mouse. And she was com­pletely and utterly charmed by its chive tail, its cheeky almond ears, its may­on­naise coat and its poppy seed eyes. From now on, EDAM isn’t a ques­tion­able Dutch cheese in our house, but an acronym for a perky little hors d’oeuvre.

I’ve just been flick­ing through a photo album from my under­gradu­ate days. I couldn’t find any food in dis­guise — just me. There I was, at a Hollywood-themed fancy dress party, wear­ing a giant card­board box with my head and feet stick­ing out top and bot­tom. Since all the other women there were cut­ting a dash as Mar­ilyn, Greta or Judy, why did I think it was a good idea to go as one of the Brown Paper Pack­ages Tied Up with String from The Sound of Music? I have abso­lutely no idea.