Life is but Ginger and Dates.

Ginger and date cake

Ginger and date cake

As the the overall economy edges down, patronage of cafés and eating out are going up. Economists point this out and the stats proved that the change in our consuming habits were in equal proportion. You wonder what the connection is. Here, where we live, dress shops are closing down or if not, the owners look forlornly towards the street hoping for customers. The customers however are next door sipping a short black or a macchiato before sauntering off to the charity shops that sell second-hand top brand names at $ 5.50 a pop or $12.50 the max. Money saved is spent sipping coffee or munching on deep fried salt & pepper calamari with fashionable red and greed lettuce leaves and chopped Spanish onion. Happy dogs are tied to the tables forever hopeful of a spare piece of Apfel-kuchen or beer battered squid.

We walk past one such café almost daily with our JRT ‘the incorrigible Milo’. Today, while waiting for the traffic light to turn green, H pointed out a man deeply immersed in his food. The immersed in his food man was sitting directly next to where the cars were driving. The patrons in this café are seated inside as well as on the footpath. The outside patrons are shielded from the sun by white umbrellas. The traffic separated from the diners by heavy concrete barriers and some greenery.

I noticed him, the enthusiastic eater, as well. His jaws were firmly locked on whatever he had partially managed to stow inside his mouth. In between he managed to masticate, eyes manically focussed on his plate. His wife/partner or girlfriend looked on in amazement. Such was his level of concentration.

I was in awe.

“That’s how you eat too”, I was told after we reached the other side of the intersection. “Like an animal”, she added. The walk was taking a nasty turn. Milo sensed it and looked up. He is acutely attuned to our marital squabbling while crossing streets.

I have to admit; my eating habits sometimes include an unnecessary concentration on the plate directly below my chin. H often asks me; “can you look up a bit and converse with me.” “I am your wife.” I then stop eating and rack my brains off in finding something amusing to say. I am overwrought with guilt and that’s not helpful in steering the lunch or dinner into something in a more entertaining direction than just the forking in of mouthfuls of squid or potato wedges.

Our dietary habits are different. I eat as if in an emergency. H has more of a slimming or keeping slim attitude towards food intake. She maintains and remains a svelte figure much admired by many but achieved by few in our age group. My problem has always been putting and keeping weight on, no matter how much I ate, I remained somewhat slim. As a child, but after the war, when food once again reached our tables, I used to skim cream from the bucket filled with milk. In those days milk was delivered by a person called ‘the milkman’. He had a horse and carriage. He would go from door to door selling just milk by the litre. My mum used to shout down the stairs “4 litres today please milkman”. The milkman had a long handled steel scoop which held exactly a litre which he used to fill our green enamelled bucket with.

When the accusation of my animalistic eating habits had calmed and cooled a bit, I offered to have a latte with a ginger and date cake. “We can share the cake”, I added, always considering her keenness in remaining svelte. “Yes, that would be nice”, she smiled happily.

All was well.

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12 Responses to “Life is but Ginger and Dates.”

  1. Curt Mekemson Says:

    And then there is the old Zen statement, “When you eat, eat.” Suggest to your wife you are in deep meditation and see how far it gets you. 🙂 –Curt


  2. auntyuta Says:

    All was well. Oh. life can be good! 🙂
    Peter and I often share a piece of cake. And we usually have a ‘flat white’ each. Without asking, when we order only one piece of cake, we are being served two sets of cutlery which makes sharing easier!
    Date cake is my favourite at present. When I asked for a piece the other day it was served beautifully warm and with some ice-cream. This tasted very yummy! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. gerard oosterman Says:

    Yes Uta,
    We sometimes even order one meal and share. It seems we are following other countries. Café and pub meals have turned huge. Even for two we are struggling with a single serve. We now take a plastic container and take home what we haven’t eaten and surprise Milo.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. gerard oosterman Says:

    Le Canard butchery in Bowral has a special on Crocodile tail fillets and Emu cheeks. Let me know if you want some.
    (The crocodiles have been farmed commercially so no chance of the swishing tail fillets having any traces of tourists having been ingested).


  5. Big M Says:

    Gez, Mrs M reckons that I’ve started to eat at restaurants like an old man, you know, place an order, then arrange the napkin on my lap, separate the cutlery, then wait with a look of eager anticipation. Just like my Dad!


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, I now try and won’t finish my plate before Helvi has. What sacrifice to conjugal harmony and balance. I even stop by and immerse myself in front of dress shops when on a walk around Bowral. There are so many dress shops and H like to stop at everyone of them. I now even get text messages on special discounts. Can you believe it?


  6. hilarycustancegreen Says:

    Do you get Montalbano (Italian TV detective set in Sicily)? He has a thing about not eating and talking at the same time, and women find him very attractive…


  7. kaytisweetlandrasmussen83 Says:

    We are Montalbano fans, but suddenly we don’t get him anymore. We do talk some while eating, but it is clumsy when eating something juicy. Ginger and date cake sounds pretty good about now.


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