Saturday, 23 January 2010

Composing dinner for two

Yesterday evening as I was composing dinner for two, it struck me how my friends and family have helped to mould my enjoyment of food over the years. My mother was a 'meat, potatoes and two veg' type of girl who spent most of my former years fruitlessly trying to get me to eat vegetables. After my brothers kindly substituted small green pickled onions for peas on my dinner plate one evening when I was about three, I became suspicious of anything green. I existed on meat, fruit and cheese and remained steel-willed even when the same vegetables were served up meal after meal with nothing else in an attempt to force me to eat them. My mother gave up. I just had little interest in food. Not even cakes and puddings would tempt me. A stint at boarding school clinched the deal and food was of little consequence.

Then I met Borneo, one of the two who would enjoy the dinner being composed above. I was swept into a family of wolfhound men who hunter-gathered through the kitchen and dining room whenever they were home eating everything in sight. I was both appalled and fascinated. I had never seen so much prepared food disappear so quickly. And they, in turn, were horrified by my absolute lack of interest. The family introduced me to big South African braais (barbecues) with macho men declaring their hunting (going to the best butcher) and drinking skills around the fire in the garden and gregarious women preparing potato salads and accompaniments in the kitchen. It was all so strange and food-oriented.

After that, it seems that every friend I met took me deeper into my new found love for food. There were evening meals, lunch dates and coffee mornings. R had a Lebanese evening with sumptuous food that astounded my taste buds. S brought out a Mediterranean feast with peppadews and olives one night when we had finally got the kids to sleep and the girls tucked into it . I haven't taken to olives. J stayed a while and cooked pastas and risottos. T served us our first English Christmas with bread sauce and Brussels sprouts. I haven't taken to sprouts either. Y taught me to enjoy vegetables. R learned how to cook and still delights us with her creations. There are too many to mention but they have all lead me wonderfully astray and I am still loving it.

To end this I hope the irony in this last bit makes you smile. After 20 years of begging and pleading with me to eat vegetables, wherever my mother is watching me from, she must be laughing because I have been a vegetarian for over 14 years. I developed an intolerance for meat and cannot eat it. So now I am catching up on all those missed vegetables of my youth and enjoying them along with the cakes, biscuits, tapas and French cheese. The list is long and very delicious.

1 comment:

  1. A joy to read !( I am tolerant with my kids' diet fads because I know it is to change in their adulthood).