Dear Fairground Attraction,

We had our friends, The Gilliards, over for dinner last night, Funfair Feature Fairground Attraction, and my wife was distraught to find upon going to Sainsburys too late that they were clean out of Lloyd Grossman Tomato & Chilli, even in the ''chuck outs''.

Being therefore forced to make do with a 500g jar of Dolmio (although worth it, yeah, at a very reasonable £1.79) did peeve her slightly as she does not normally ''make such mistakes'' and feared that the perceived inferiority of the surrogate sauce would detract from the success of her Arrabiata for seven.

The meal was a resounding success Carnival Captivation Fairground Attraction, perhaps down to Jean over-compensating for the supposedly substandard coulis through the deployment of high-grade fresh Cavatappi and organic Portabellos.

Contrary to your assertion therefore, we are inclined to argue that even if too many people take second best and you won't take anything less, ‘it’, whether an affair of the heart or an exercise in Italian cuisine preparation can still be perfect if sufficient countermeasures are taken in restitution for supposed shortcomings

It is sincerely hoped that you will respond to this reasonable hypothesis (which I initially sent in error to a well known ''folk rock'' group - I've promised myself I won't do that again) and that you are determined, you're 'gonna' get it right.




The Philpotts





Dear Philpotts,

I am sorry for my delay in replying to your letter. I was, I must admit, completely flummoxed by your question. While I am delighted and relieved that Jean managed to rescue your evening from what I would have assumed to be certain disaster, I struggled to understand how. After all, I have always been certain that ‘it’ does indeed have to be perfect. I am sure that you can hear that conviction in my guitar solo.

I took some time trawling the internet in search of an answer and I am glad to report that I believe I have found it, in the form of the work of a highly regarded psychophysicist called Howard Moskowitz. 


Moskowitz has 'optimised' soups, pizzas, salad dressings and pickles for various food companies. His research on the American Prego spaghetti sauce (which revealed a customer preference for an ‘extra-chunky’ formulation) is notable, as was his optimisation of the amount of salt, sugar and fat to arrive at a so called 'bliss point' and maximise consumer satisfaction. In an earlier research project for Pepsi, he concluded that there was no ‘perfect Pepsi’ only ‘perfect Pepsis’ - meaning that one man’s idea of the ideal balance of ingredients differs from the next.  Applying this theory to your question, I think we can safely conclude that there is no ‘perfect Philpott dinner party’ only ‘perfect Philpott dinner parties’ and be grateful that we have a man like Howard Moskowitz to turn to when we need him.

I hope this clears things up and I wish you and Jean many more wonderful evenings of dining with your lucky friends.

Meanwhile, I am working on a re-write of the song, so far I have, “It’s got to be  e e e e e e e just right for you oo oo oo oo oo”

Warmest wishes,

Mark Nevin - Fairground Attraction 





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