Picture this. At midnight last night Guido and I were in the café kitchen. He was wearing a tee-shirt with the words HO HO HO on the front of it. I should respectfully point out that he had nothing else on except for a pair of tartan boxer shorts. More specific detail of the latter, later.
Two days to go and preparations for the last café evening opening of the year had hit a minor but crucial issue. There was no menu. Guido looked at his watch.
“We have an hour to come up with ideas,” he said, “nothing predictable. I’m looking to go out with a big bang.”
Readers will know cooking isn’t exactly my strong point. Unless of course it involved toast. I stared hopefully upwards at the ceiling for inspiration. I hummed a little tune. I tried not to think of recipes involving garlic as I swear it’s the root cause of why Guido and I have no friends.
“I don’t believe it’s possible to live well without eating well,” said Guido unexpectedly resting his big chopper on the work top. “I want food that makes me feel good, not just when I’m eating it, but when I’m cooking it too. I believe with all my heart that what and how we cook can make us feel better and more alive.” He curled his long hair back behind his ears. “For me a meal, however simple, is a celebration of life. And life’s for celebrating.” God, I thought, this was getting deep. This must be what it’s like to live with Nigella Lawson.
I looked at Guido’s mountain bike propped up against the back door and inexplicably chef Heston Blumenthal in a lab coat popped into my brain. “Why don’t we get your tyre pump and inflate a wild guinea fowl to the point of explosion?” I said sounding desperate. It brought a little bit of Bray to Bermondsey.
“What for?” said Guido looking blankly.
“Don’t ask me,” I said, “but it’s exactly the sort of thing Heston would do.”
My eyes drifted back to the ceiling, then to Guido’s tartan shorts, and then back to the ceiling. Stay focused. I started to hum the Scottish national anthem.
“I’ve got it!” he yelled suddenly. The word Eureka! filled the room. “I’ll roast a turkey!” Please note there are four exclamation marks in this sentence alone!
Roast a turkey in December? Duh, why didn’t I think of that? My boyfriend had a brilliant mind. He was an absolute genius.
“Yeah,” he said, “and I could stuff it!” This was getting better by the second. “I could mould warm crusty balls of sage and onion mix with my big bare hands. It would ooze between my fingers. With big slabs of spicy sausage on the side.” He paused, salivating. “Then I could dribble it all with some of my thick sticky gravy.”
Boy, was it just me or was it suddenly getting very hot in here? I felt like my glasses could possibly be hazing up. Never before had a full roast made me want to rip all of my clothes off and have sex on a chopping board.
“Sorted!” he shouted. He looked at his watch. “And we still have fifty minutes to spare. Got any other ideas?”
I stared at Guido’s tartan shorts and thought about going out with a big bang.
“Yeah,” I said, “but its really predictable.”