When you live with a chef, sometimes, you can’t help but feel guilty. I think it’s something to do with all that relentless chopping and slicing and deglazing he does for me. Well, last night I thought, to hell with fricassee. Give the kid a break. Take over. Keep things simple but honestly nutritious.
“This is a genuine surprise,” said Guido laying the table nervously. “The last time you cooked it was definitely a meal to remember.”
And for all the wrong reasons folks.
I fastened on my apron with a fanfare like all the good chefs do.
”Oh don’t worry,” I said breezily, “I’m keeping things simple this time so thought we’d go for something really light – like a tomato soup.”
Guido sat down at the kitchen table. I could sense his anticipation.
“You know, the first item of furniture I ever bought was this table,” he said.
For some strange reason, he knocked wood.
“And a table seemed to me like the most important thing in my life. It talked to me. Food. Family. Friends.”
The first item of furniture I ever bought was a bed. Let me tell you it didn’t talk to me. And I wasn’t thinking of family or friends either, I was thinking about only one thing.
I was living in Camden at the time and I was dating an accountant called Coleman. He had a semi-detached house in Kensal Rise so we’d regularly rip each other’s clothes off in North London. I certainly don’t remember a lot of sleeping going on. Of course that relationship flatlined long before I’d met Guido. Which is a relief because if I’d written a blog about getting into bed with an accountant every night I’m guessing it wouldn’t be half as exciting as telling you about how Guido dips his crudités in the nude.
“I’m keeping this simple,” I said resting a tin of soup by the stove, “It’s a classic recipe… Heinz.”
I pulled back the ring pull and decanted the contents into a pan. I held it up and squinted at the instructions. Heat slowly and stir until hot. This sounded complicated. I was beginning to regret not going down the Chopped Salad route.
”Do you think you’ll be serving any accompaniments to go with it?” Guido asked hopefully.
I let out a sigh.
”Well, I was going to open a box of crackers,” I said, “but if you want to test me to my culinary limits I could try simultaneously buttering a bap.”
Honestly! What next, an Ox on a spit?
”Let’s stick with crackers,” said Guido smiling sympathetically. I guess it takes a chef to know pressure, with compassion.
I poured the steaming soup into bowls and set one down infront of Guido. I watched him gingerly pick up his spoon and dip it in and then taste it.
“Well, what d’you think?” I asked.
He swallowed. He made a funny sucking sound with his tongue. He closed his eyes. He paused.
”You know, I think this might possibly be one of the best tins of soup I’ve had heated for me in my entire life,” he said.
I suggested whipping up something more exotic next week. Like a cheese on toast. But, Guido says I really shouldn’t try to run before I can walk.