There are two purposes to a newspaper column and neither of them is political. Because there's no point. Consider, for example, Trump. If the abundance, no, the plethora, no, the superabundance, of evidence has failed to convince you that Trump is a black hole of egocentricity, no newspaper column is going to change your mind.
Nor yet will the ruinous war with Iran that he is seeking to provoke in order to distract you from the fact that he has committed crimes enough to put him in prison for the rest of his days.
So, no more political stuff, at least not this week. Rather the two purposes of a newspaper column, both of which I am now inventing, are a. to describe everyday domestic moral dilemmas and b. to resolve them. The value of a. is to show that no one is alone in their moral wrestling, and the value of b. is to offer peace of mind.
So, today's everyday domestic moral dilemma is - pause for excited intake of breath - blood in the pastry. And even as I type those simple words I hear a collective sigh, the sort of sigh that prisoners emit at the end of their sentence when the key finally rattles in the lock and the door swings open. For who among us has not known the blood-in-the-pastry dilemma? Yet who until now has heard it discussed honestly and openly? And here's how it arose.
I decided, on that instantaneous protuberance the spur of the moment, to make a quiche. The fundament of quiche is pastry. I make my own. Of course I am aware that some people use shop-bought pastry, and that's just fine by me so long as they realise that by doing so they render themselves unfit to mix with nice society.
I got out the sharp-bladed little food-processor that a kind-hearted woman gave me years ago when my dog had had an operation on his throat and could eat only pap. Into it (the food-processor, that is. The dog is long since dead) I tipped all the flour I had, some cubes of cold butter - the dice of delight - a single rich and lustrous egg yolk and a splash of water and I whizzed it all up. In seconds it went from separate ingredients to a oneness, a squidgy cricket ball the colour of a fresh Mediterranean corpse.
I pulled the ball from the processor, feeling the slightest twinge of a finger tip as I did so, kneaded it a bit - the ball, that is, not the finger tip - and dropped it on the bench on which I hadn't spread a little flour because I didn't have any. The ball landed with a pleasing meaty thud. I picked it up and dropped it back down again for the pleasure of doing so. But even as I dropped it I noticed a pair of scarlet smears on one side of the ball. The ring finger of my right hand had been neatly sliced by the processor blade and was bubbling blood. Another fat drop fell on the pastry.
And thus we arrive at today's ethical dilemma. Should I biff the pastry, plaster the finger and start again? Or should I carry on?
For all its apparent simplicity it was a complex matter. A series of questions thronged and threatened to overwhelm me. But in the manner of the questing Plato I sought to isolate them and answer them one by one for the good of mankind, as follows.
Did I want to drive to the supermarket to buy more flour? No.
Should that be a consideration in a moral dilemma? No.
Was it? Yes.
Is human blood a recognised quiche ingredient? No.
Would the blood affect the flavour? No. The quantity was too small.
Should flavour be a consideration in a moral dilemma? No.
Was it? Yes.
Would eating blood-contaminated pastry constitute cannibalism? Not for me. You can't cannibalise yourself.
Would feeding it to someone else be abetting cannibalism? No. Cannibalism is the eating of human flesh. Blood is not flesh.
Would feeding it to someone else be abetting vampirism? No. Vampirism is the drinking of blood. This blood would be eaten.
So would there be there any legal impediment to this pastry? No.
Would I be legally required to warn others there was blood in it? No.
Would I be morally required to warn others there was blood in it? No. It would put them off their dinner.
Did I just carry on? Yes I did.
Am I the first person to have done so? I doubt it.
How was the quiche? It was bloody wonderful.