Sunday, September 10, 2006

Dinner for One

When I got married I didn't know how to boil an egg. . My mother, an excellent cook , had no tolerance for a messy kitchen and preferred to go it alone. Mouthwatering aromas greeted us at lunchtime every day when we dashed home from school. My interest in food lay more in the eating than in the preparing.... One job she did have me do occasionally was to sit on the step outside the kitchen and shell peas . But twice as many of those juicy morsels went in my mouth as in the pot. Another job I liked was peeling apples for pie. My fascination was to see if I could peel each apple without breaking the ribbon, which didn't exactly speed the process along .

At college in Dublin I lived in a hostel run by nuns [yes, more nuns!] who served us three meals a day. We had a small kitchen where we conducted daring and adventurous culinary experiments involving tea and hot cocoa. My mother-in-law was right to quake when she realised that her darling son was about to marry a person who didn't know how to peel a potato. My own mother apologetically bought me a cookbook and slunk away.

I've peeled a lot of potatoes and boiled a lot of eggs and baked a lot of pies in the past thirty six years --- even became good at it and enjoyed being chief cook and bottlewasher, and creator of my own mouthwatering aromas... With five hungry children I learned to cook in quantity. And then, just when I'd gotten the hang of it, they grew up and started drifting slowly off to their own lives and I had to adjust. Which took me a while. Leftovers were never a problem with teenagers prowling around. But each time another one left I'd continue to cook as though they'd be home at any moment, ravenous. The leftovers would pile up in the refrigerator and turn green. Strange, furry organisms would grow under the saran wrap and finally I'd realise, again, that I needed to downsize.

There's something very basic about cooking for and feeding people you love. It must be that urge to nurture. And in another way it's aggravating. There'll be no resting on your laurels. No matter what manner of magnificent feast you fed them today, as sure as the sun rises they'll wake up tomorrow and want to eat again! It's not so much food itself that I love as how it brings people together. Gathering around the table to eat together is such a comfortable, companionable thing to do. Which brings me to my present dilemma--how to get excited about dinner for one? Hot dog anyone? tuna sandwich--again? how about a couple of nice boiled eggs? or maybe a lovely ham sandwich? And don't forget the veggies! pickled beets [good source of iron], store bought coleslaw, baked beans, crunchy raw carrots....yum,yum, yum! Personally, without company around the table, I'd just as soon get my nutrition intravenously.......

However, not to end this on a glum note, may I direct your attention to a short movie called "Dinner for One". We were first introduced to it in Germany where it is a tradition to watch this movie every New Year's Eve. It's in English, and very, very British but the Germans love it --and you will too. Unfortunately I haven't a clue how to link over to it from here but it's easy to find on Google so, enjoy--"Dinner for One"!

3 comments:

Liz said...

Ah yes, remember the movie and just watched it again on the laptop for a refresher. P'raps you should hire on a butler, wink, wink.

daysgoby said...

I loved this post!

Funny how a lot of memories are tied up around food....

Not that I was tied up (blushing)you understand.....

Slinking away

Anonymous said...

funny your mom sounds alot like my mom....how could that be?
By the way that's me every single day.707unowho