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Dinner for one August 30, 2006

Posted by BiB in Uncategorized.
My virtual darlings, there’s so much to blog about I hardly know where to begin. Well, that’s a lie. I don’t know at all where to begin. Not because I can’t put my thoughts in order, although that’s a bit the case too. No, more because I know I’ve said to myself over the last few days, “Once that bastard translation’s over – it is, as of about 18 seconds ago. You see where my priorities lie the second I’m done? – I’ll blog like mental.” Trouble is, didn’t jot down any of the things I was meant to blog like mental about. Well, I did a bit. On a coffee-cup-ringed post-it right before my eyes, twixt keyboard and screen, are various pointers for when I’d find time again to get with the Muse. I quote, “Weight – being deported” and “dressed like a tree”. They do vaguely mean something to me now, in the cold light of a summer’s winter evening. I’ll get round to them eventually…
My news, which I’m sure you’ve all been waiting for on the edge of your ergonomic seats, is that the Russian’s gone and fucked orff for a month. Between you and me, we’re a nasty little couple and there’s no telling how we’ll behave with each other when thousands of miles apart. We bitchily, carpily, after all these years, still have to play babyish little games. Sending the first SMS, per esempio, would be a great display of moral weakness. The Russian caved in on that one, fingering me a “landed-safely-in-Helsinki; reindeers-on-sale-in-airport” message as an opening gambit. I caved in hopelessly in a moment of weakness (and hunger) some hours later and wrote, “Please come back,” which was silly, because I know he won’t for another month. But I hoped it might soften his granite heart if he could imagine me standing tearfully on the balcony, awaiting the day he might return. A couple of hours later on, the romance deadened by work and hunger pangs, I realised I can’t use the printer. (Mine dead. Another attached to his computer. That now under Fort-Knox lock and key (and password) for the duration.) “How do I print?” I fingered off, witheringly. No reply.
Anyway, one plus of the Russian being away, apart from the freedom to put on Jacques Brel whenever I god damned like (without hearing a drone and a dash for something by Ace of Base to take the nasty sound away), is that I plan not to eat for a month. As this has been a particularly nasty winter of a summer (the last few weeks), and as I’ve worked like a horse, and as I’ve accidentally given up smoking for want of smoking-windows, I’ve all of a sudden got the pastiest complexion this side of Morecambe and have put on 100 stone. My hair has just got to that loathsome in-betweeny stage too to round off the full effect. So it’s drastic measures. A diet of cigarettes and no food shall commence forthwith.
But I thought I’d have one last goodbye-to-food-and-all-that-jazz supper this evening. Cooking for one is miserable. Doubly so if your loved one is a whizz in the kitchen and what you make is invariably tasteless gruel. The fridge was bereft of any ingredient that could be called vaguely interesting. There were the dregs of two different types of pasta wilting in the one big kitchen cupboard. I lugubriously got to work on some tomatoes, peppers and onions. Cooked those in the wrong order so that the peppers and onions were still tooth-crushingly hard at the end of it all. Threw in a ton of gorgonzola – that was vaguely interesting, ingredients-wise, I suppose – to disguise the taste of anything else. Dashed for the pasta. And I had a life-changing, seminal realisation. As I upended the packet and the spaghetti went cascading all over the floor, I realised that that’s where that picking-up-sticks game that children from families where the parents don’t bother to send them to violin lessons play came from. So cooking for one can be didactic after all. (And, again, I didn’t have to see the Russian’s face contort and him dash for taste-disguising salt or mayonnaise.)
But this isn’t what I meant to blog about at all. At all. Must have gone stir-crazy.


1. Bowleserised - August 31, 2006

You cook like me! Nah, if you want to lose weight, the only way to do it is to learn to cook vegetables then eat nothing but veg and the occasional slug of protein.

Recipe for the day: refried cauliflower. Boil cauliflower. Remove. Chop about 20 cloves of garlic and fry them gently in lots of olive oil. Add cauliflower florets. Cook til slightly brown and mushy and covered in olive oil and garlic. Eat with lots of salt.

2. BiB - August 31, 2006

That sounds delicious. I could live on garlic and nothing else. And a very English take on Mexican refrying, or is refrying a staple of English cuisine too, and I just haven’t noticed?

Could the slug of protein be chicken? It’s impossible (maybe) to buy meat for one. When I went on a shoppery yesterday – you mustn’t think I’m enjoying this being-alone lark too much, but it was nice being able to buy all the cheapo options and not have the Russian shrieking in horror – I thought I’d better buy meat to make myself cook something involving more work and taste-pleasure than a slice of toast, so bought some chuck. But it’s enough for two. Maybe that can be the whole meal when I get round to it.

I think there must be a fresh pasta mountain at the mo because in our posh MiniMal supermarket, fresh pasta (and accompanying sauces) is constantly at rock-bottom prices. So I get one of those enough-for-one portions, which just so aren’t enough for even one, and as I chomped through it (in about ten seconds), I worried the whole time that I’d still be starving at the end. And I was. Cue trusty bananas.

3. BiB - August 31, 2006

Ed, before I’d discovered the halal butchers in Wedding, the Russian and I went on a quest for Halalfleisch to our local purveyors. “Haben Sie Halalfleisch?” we asked, apologetically but with a flicker of hope in each establishment. Cue dumbfoundedness followed by evasive helpfulness. “Nee, aber wir haben Kalbfleisch, Schweinefleisch, Rindfleisch.” Perhaps they thought a halal was some obscure animal.

Yes, I’m a great believer in leftovers. We always shudder in horror when we have visitors from rich countries, i.e. Denmark, who can’t get to the bin quick enough at the end of a meal to throw away what they haven’t eaten or, criminally, to throw away something because it went past its sell-by date half a second ago.

B., are you with me that eggplant is actually a sexier word than aubergine?

4. Ed Ward - August 31, 2006

Well, you know, there is such a thing as leftovers. I have some in the fridge from last night’s garlic-intensive eggplant/tomato/ricotta spaghetti sauce, and look forward to reheating it in a couple days’ time.

If there were more actual butchers here you could buy single portions of things like pork chops and so on, but in these horrible supermarkets, shrink-wrap rules.

5. Bowleserised - August 31, 2006

The on-going RFM/Bowleserised dispute over the correct names for certain vegetables means I couldn’t possibly comment.

*shakes fist* It’s COURGETTE! COURGETTE I say!

6. BiB - August 31, 2006

I could never actually allow myself to SAY zucchini (although it’s zucchini in Russian too, so I can say it then) or eggplant, but I do quiver in admiration when I hear them said. But the stress in oregano? Là, non!

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