I like cooking, so, it’s no wonder that after so many years, cooking has fallen solidly in my department, but I sometimes baulk at the prospect of , yet again, get the potatoes out of the garage ( the garage is our second freezer) open the kitchen drawer, rummage for the peeler, and proceed to peel them. I remember well my mother doing that daily for a huge family, year in year out. We were all big fans of the potato with nice gravy. My mother’s gravy was so nice; we could almost have lived of that alone. I never make gravy. I don’t know why. It probably, like everything else now, dates back to childhood. Dr Kleinkind will probably deduce I am clearly suffering from a dysfunctional childhood. That will be $ 820. – , secretary will write you a receipt.
Today, I sighed, within earshot of Helvi. She knows me so well. She asked; don’t feel like cooking today, dear? Ah, I don’t know, I mumbled back, looking down at the carpet, picking up imaginary dog hairs in a somewhat desultory manner. Helvi kept me in suspense. Ah well, she said, I felt the same with making the bed and doing the washing. It gets so boring. She knows all the aspects of our fencing towards a known and pre-determined outcome.
I hold the key; let’s celebrate our life and I’ll take you out for lunch, I said. Between 12 and 15 the Bowral Pub has a special lunch, I am starving, I quickly add. Oh, I am not hungry yet, she quick as a flash, I had my chick pea soup for breakfast. Helvi makes a fine and hearty soup from chicken stock with lots of vegetables including all sorts of peas ensuring both of us are in prime form and within very good and flush running condition. I am not a breakfast soup person but H is. My fried black-pudding is probably a good dietary breakfast match.
Ah well, that’s a pity. I really felt like taking you out, perhaps have a plate of the beer battered fish & chips with crispy salad and a slice of lemon; I believe the John Dory is on this week, I stated casually. How do you know, she asked while emptying the laundry basket on the floor? I just happened to see the blackboard outside this morning when we walked past, I lied. Did the reader notice I said ‘I really felt’? The lunch has moved in the past tense now. Did Helvi sense a retraction of the promise?
No, she persisted; why don’t you have some of my soup for lunch? Micro-wave it but put a lid on, those chick peas do pop a lot, she added for extra impact and stoic Nordic determination.
I changed tack; as she sorted the washing from the floor, I started peeling the potatoes, hinting at the usual prospect of a jam or cheese sandwich for lunch and spuds for dinner.
I now put on my best position, en garde with raised gleaming foil and raised sabre; Helvi dear, you look very nice this morning; those jeans make you look very slim and lithe, I parried. (I did not say lithe but it reads nicely). Her riposte was sweet and to the point of no return.
Ok then, let’s wait an hour to get really hungry. The Bowral pub is open till 3pm. You keep peeling and I’ll load the washing machine. Ok dear, fair enough. Nice day today. Yes it is. Frost this morning too, the cyclamens were frozen up. Yes, but they don’t mind, in Persia they flower in snow. Really, do they now? Yes, really. Have you seen my glasses? Yes, they’re on your forehead. I have done the potatoes. Oh, that’s nice dear, put on your jacket. Where is it? It is where you left it this morning after the walk. Try and remember things.
Yes, let’s go, the John Dory is beckoning.