Pie-gate

Sometimes in the morning I’ll be in bed asleep upstairs in our loft and my eyes will go from being tight shut to wide open in a nanosecond. It’s because at that moment I get the scent of cherry pie coming out of the oven downstairs in the cafe. Well, that’s what happened last week – only rather than cherry it was apple and raisin with a generous sprinkle of cinnamon. Trust me I can tell the difference between a baked cherry and a baked apple. It’s taken years of sniffing to get it down to such a fine art. In fact, if anyone is ever looking for a professional pie sniffer then look no further than me folks because I’m your man. Eating pie is, of course, the obvious progression and, whilst I’ve never actually entered a pie eating competition, pass the spoon.

Anyway the reason I’m telling you this baloney is because something rather awkward has happened between me, my husband and a piece of crust. Yes, to coin the phrase by the late Princess Diana, “there were now 3 of us in this marriage”. Whilst thankfully my marital competition has proved to be completely edible, Guido has started referring to this weird episode as, Pie-gate. You know where I’m going with this one.

Baked especially to sell front of house, it was about the size of a cartwheel in circumference; cut into 16 perfectly proportioned slices. The surface was golden and crispy and was oozing lusciousness from every possible angle. Guido, surely, wouldn’t miss just one solitary slice?

Yes he would.

No he wouldn’t.

Yes he would.

No he wouldn’t.

There isn’t that much that turns my brain into indecisive mush except possibly Bear Grylls topless and a sugary filling, but there I was like Dr Jekyll transitioning into Mr Hyde in a cake shop. I picked up a knife and I cut. I hesitantly looked left. Then I craftily looked right. I checked for any possible witnesses to this unfolding crumb scene and then; and then I just ate it in greedy guilty gulps. It was like feeding time at the monkey house – both hideous and hysterical all rolled into one. As you can see I live a gloriously hedonistic lifestyle for a professional pie sniffer. I looked at the remaining pie. There was an obvious gap. Hmm. I had a light bulb moment. If I just moved all of the other slices 6mm to the left then 16 slices magically became 15. I let out a deranged Mr Hyde cackle of laughter. It clearly takes a while for his maniacal sugar rush to wear off. But who am I to judge.

However, the real test was to come 2 hours later.

“When I cut this here pie,” said Guido holding a cake slice confrontationally, “there were 16 slices. Now there are 15. Care to elaborate?”

I glanced over my shoulder like he was talking to someone else. However the problem is, when I lie, I blink excessively. It’s a dead give away.

“I have no idea,” I said blink blink, “what you’re talking about.” Blink blink, and double blink.

“Really?” said Guido.

He knew, that I knew, that he knew.

“Absolutely,” I said blink blink blink, “Pie, what pie?” Blink blink blink.

And I know what you’re all thinking. But let he who is without sin, cast the first slice.

Love lost and found

My parents got remarried yesterday. I’ll spare you every minutia of detail. But suffice it to say there would have been enough drama in the run up to write a blog post every day for the next twenty five years.

What I will tell you is my mother wore pink chiffon (now I know where I get my interest from) and my father wore his usual blue crushed velvet number. Which he was still ominously referring to as his “marriage suit.” Let’s hope this (number 4) really is its last outing. It’s a miracle of modern tailoring, and his ability to suck his stomach in for extended periods, that he still fits in it. After they exchanged vows my parents stared into each other’s eyes. It was actually quite moving. Outside the Registry Office Guido said I threw a box of confetti over their heads with particular gusto. I guess it was the relief it was all over. Then we took a cab to Boulevard Brasserie in Covent Garden where we met a whole bunch of their friends. I’ll give them this – my parents sure know how to throw a terrific party. They both looked very happy; like people who, whatever they have found again, had been given a second chance.

Today, in stark contrast to love (re)found, was love horribly lost. This morning I met Gary. We drank a coffee and split a double chocolate chip muffin at the cafe. I’ll be honest. The conversation was difficult. We spoke about him returning back to work at the airline. He was keeping busy working extra shifts – he said. I asked him if he was eating properly. He was trying to but keeping busy working extra shifts – he said. I asked how he was coping. He was coping by working extra shifts – he said. Everytime I mentioned Ted’s name, Gary wept. You cannot simply wash away all those years of loving together in four months. Bereavement is such a lonely torture.

“Somebody told me that how I feel will never change,” said Gary, “but how I deal with those feelings eventually does.”

As he left I hugged him and said we’d meet for lunch. He was busy working extra shifts, but he’d try – he said.

Later, when Guido finished lunch service, I asked him to come upstairs with me and we decadently had sex right in the middle of the afternoon. It was sex of the making love variety – as opposed to the sex of the jumping off our chest of drawers enthusiastically holding a tube of spreadable cheese variety.

I guess you could say Guido and I are neither a love lost nor one newly found. We’re in a category all by ourselves that’s called an ongoing “work in progress.” But what I do know is, whatever we’ve got, I never want it to end.

[Apologies for the technical glitch. And to any readers who get this post twice]

Melvin, and me

The rumour is that there are now two Melania Trumps. Or so conspiracy theorists seem to believe. This got me thinking and it didn’t take me long to begin to love the idea of having my own doppelgänger. Seriously, the possibilities could be endless. So over a lemon risotto last night I asked Guido what he’d think if there were two of me.

“Two,” he said, “of you,” he said, “at exactly the the same time?” he said. There was a short pause whilst he furrowed his brow. “I’d say one was more than enough.”

Personally I thought it was a terrific idea; everyone should have a spare. Provided I could find someone with convincingly bushy eyebrows, a nose shaped like a banana, and a pathological love of baked cheesecake, I reckoned it would be almost impossible to tell us apart. And I’ve already thought of a name for the other me.

I’m calling him Melvin.

With the right tweaks and a few days coaching I reckon Melvin would be completely interchangeable in everything I do.

Ever woken up on a week day and felt like crap? Call Melvin. Late night grocery store shopping on a budget? Call Melvin. A tedious lunch with my mother? Call Melvin. My mother would be so busy drinking gin and talking about herself she probably wouldn’t even notice it wasn’t me.

“Well, not at exactly the same time,” I said. “it’s not like I’m looking for an identical twin to hang out with and wear the same clothes.” I mean really, I’m not a complete freak. “Just someone I could call up once in a while to come over and fill in for me.”

Honestly the more I explained this the more convincingly logical it was becoming.

“Sounds complicated to me,” said Guido, “What if this Melvin guy turns up when you weren’t expecting him and you both ended up in the same place at the same time? How would you dig your way out of that one?”

You see, that’s what I love about my husband, his ability to seek answers to what is already ridiculously implausible. Though I suppose I only had myself to blame. I suddenly found myself wondering if Melania ever had similar conversations with Donald. I’d bet she did.

“And would Melvin be able to do that weird thing to me with his tongue in exactly the same way that you do?”

I almost dropped my spoon. As far as I was concerned the only thing Melvin was going to do with his tongue was talk.

“Well let me tell you something mister,” I said, “ if you think for just one minute that anyone is going to do that weird thing to you with their tongue – which has taken many many years of practice and most of it in the dark I might add  – it’s going to be me. So if this Melvin imposter ever suggests any tongue action I want to be the first to know.”

Mervin’s got some nerve. I didn’t like this side to him one little bit. I was hoping he’d be satisfied with office work, shopping, and lunch with my mother. Hell, I was even going to throw in cheesecake, but no, suddenly Melvin has to go and get his big tongue out.

I ate my risotto. Then later in bed I did that weird thing to Guido with my tongue. And I’m telling you – Melvin doesn’t stand a chance.

On the beach

Yesterday Guido and I flew down to Tenerife for a much needed Spring break.

“The first thing I’m going to do is jump into the ocean,” said Guido with a big smile on his face.

So when we landed and my bag and I were happily re-united at the carousel, I felt a pang of guilt when Guido’s case never made it. I’d have thought that would throw a dampener on the idea of jumping into the ocean, but apparently not.

”Hey, I’m still going in!” Guido said – with an exclamation mark. The combination of Guido and an exclamation mark always makes me nervous.

Although he’s not the best packer in the world, I’ll concede it’s one thing to forget to stash something crucial but it’s a whole other ball game to lose it all. And if you’ve ever seen us stand side by side you’ll quickly realise our swimwear is not something we can easily interchange on account of my stomach, and his washboard.

But what I hadn’t anticipated was that Guido would be willing to substitute his own underwear with his Speedos until the latter showed up. So after checking in, we checked out Playa Del Duque beach where he stripped off his Levi’s and revealed his ability to improvise. It turns out to be one of his biggest assets.

“No one will know I’m wearing boxers instead of beach shorts,” said Guido idiotically. And with that he strode off confidently towards the waves. I wasn’t so sure.

Let’s just say in my opinion those underpants were loose. They didn’t look like anything anybody else was wearing. I could see things dangling through apertures which really shouldn’t be visible to the naked eye in public.

I wandered up to the bar and ordered a Mai Tai and a big plate of French fries. But it was only when I got back to the sun beds that the excitement really kicked in.

Two women with no bikini tops on and with very large breasts laying behind me started “ooing” and “ahing”. One also had a very large pair of binoculars. I’m not in any way attempting to make a humorous connection between large breasts and large binoculars. I thought maybe there was a glamorous Russian’s yacht on the horizon or rare bird on a palm tree. But goodness me, no.

“He’s coming back out,” one of the women with no bikini tops on but with very large breasts said breathlessly. In fact she sounded practically gaga.

I looked over, only to see Guido emerging from the sea.  I dropped a chip. Unfortunately his baggy underwear was now completely water logged and listing ominously below the waterline. Well, about eleven inches below, to be exact. And every one of those eleven inches was crucial, I can tell you. Then he’d yank it all up and jump back in the water.

“Pass the binoculars Veronica,” said one woman with no bikini top on with very large breasts to the other, “you’re totally hogging them.”

And it was absolutely hypnotic. If I’d had a pair myself I’d have been zooming in too. I’m surprised nobody called the Police.

After half a dozen leaps Guido got out of the water and lay next to me dripping.

“That was terrific,” he said, “I feel like I’m tingling all over.”

And he certainly wasn’t the only one.

Aioli, and other vices

I try to be good. Often I fail. There is a very annoying saying – everything in moderation – which I’ve noticed is particularly popular with people who have slim hips and high metabolisms. And, whilst I like to think I have admirable genetic attributes myself, regular readers will know restraint isn’t one of them.

We all have our own personal holes in the road on the “being good” front. Sometimes I manage to swerve and sometimes I just go straight in head first. Cheesecake, clotted cream, a large Martini and a soggy croissant spring instantly to mind. Thought not all on the same plate at the same time.

But, it’s those small hidden vices which insidiously drip, drip, away.

We have a salt shaker on our table. I like to shake it. I shake it because it makes a weird noise like an angry rattle snake. Sometimes when Guido is quietly sucking his spaghetti I’ll jump up behind him and give it a twist. It’s amazing the combined pleasure a generous dusting of salt and scaring my husband half to death brings me. We also have a sugar bowl. In fact, we have two. One with demerara cubes and one with white granulated in a glass jar with a silver funnel on top. I sometimes plonk one lump in my coffee just for the hell of it. If I’ve got an early morning meeting in Shepherds Bush – which let’s face it, has to be depressing at the best of times – I’ll just pour an avalanche straight onto my Coco Pops and start slowly digging my way out. This could explain why I see pound signs in my dentist’s eyes when I visit his surgery every six months. You’ll also now understand why I have routinely resorted to The Banana Diet – a rare kind of masochism reserved for people with a highly developed but twisted interest in condiments and their alternative uses.

“Where d’you think you might want to spread this?” asked Guido last night somewhat provocatively in my opinion. He just happened to be holding a small dish of his freshly homemade mayonnaise at the time.

I’d just watched him put garlic, egg yolks and mustard into a blender. It sure beat what they were showing on Channel 5, I can tell you. He blitzed it to a paste and then slowly dribbled in olive oil to make a thick mayonnaise-style sauce. When everything came together he added lemon juice, then seasoned to taste. If you want to try making it, it should keep covered in the fridge of a normal person for up to 2 days. But obviously we’re not normal.

“It depends what you’re planning on serving it with,” I said as quick as a flash.

I was pretending to play it totally cool but I was secretly hoping for a bowl of something deep fried to use to start dunking. I do like a good dunk, and aioli is perfect. So there’s another item (vice) to add to my ever burgeoning list.

“I’m open to ideas,” said Guido, “but I’m definitely done in the kitchen. If you know what I mean?”

The aioli tasted good. I imagine it’s great with cold chicken or flaked tuna. Alternatively – try spreading liberally across a hairy thigh. Though I can’t promise what effect this will have on your hips.

Bring to a gentle Simmer, then stir…

I’ve always happily followed the belief, it’s not how big it is, it’s what you do with it. However now, it’s not what you do with it, but how often you get it out. Are you folks still with me?

You will not be surprised to hear that Guido wasn’t too pleased with me when I once divulged on this blog that we routinely had sex twice on a Saturday and every other Tuesday afternoon – especially if it happened to be raining. So in the – how often you get it out stakes – I’d always thought my husband and I were having more of it than the London average. But not so, according to an article I read by a sex therapist published in The Times.

According to The Dr, as I’m now affectionately calling him, you don’t have to go the whole nine yards, instead just simply get each other worked up a bit sexually on a daily basis. This regular toe dip in the shallow waters of arousal feels good and gets you going. Didn’t you know the most sexually satisfied couples amongst us get a buzz this way every day? But instead of a full on screw-a-thon they gaze, they touch, they sniff. I have to say this does sound less exhausting and time consuming, especially if it’s raining.

As you know I like to bring readers hot news on, well, getting hot, so The Dr calls this latest craze SimmeringIn reality I’d call this “getting all steamed up”. More of that, below. So naturally in the interests of modern science I decided to warm things up a bit myself on Sunday morning. But more of that, also below.

In the cafe kitchen yesterday I found Guido contentedly frying three eggs sunny side up. All four of them were a pleasing sight and whilst I do like to sniff a fried egg when I can, I decided to make my first “Simmer” move whilst I had the chance. I snuck up when Guido least expected it and sniffed him wildly around the neck. What can I tell you about that other than to say there was the faint whiff of Givenchy For Gentlemen and extra virgin olive oil.

“What the hell are you doing?” he asked flinching whilst simultaneously catapulting his spatula high into the air.

The Dr never said anything about catapulting. I had to think on my feet. What, I thought, would Zac Ephron do? I suddenly realised I’d sniffed before I’d touched or gazed so decided to do everything in reverse order. I stared deeply into Guido’s eyes fluttering my eye lashes. Then I reached out and took a firm hold of him. Nothing seemed be going hard other than his yolks. This was extremely disappointing. Nothing simmered.

The Dr says, by all means Simmer by text. I thought this was a terrific idea so later I sent Guido this to his mobile.

“Every time I think of you I get all hot under the collar…”

The three dots were crucial in my opinion.

Then I got this zapped back from Guido.

“???”

Today is now Monday. I’ve been Simmering for almost two days solid. And in the interests of modern science I can’t tell you how pleased I am tomorrow is Tuesday.

I just hope it’s raining VERY hard.

I won’t have what he’s having

I think it was Shirley Conrad who once said “life’s too short to stuff a mushroom” but if someone bakes one then I’m happy to eat it. Especially if it’s got crushed garlic, chopped parsley, smoked ham and a topping of crispy breadcrumbs.

“Hey, snap out of it,” said my friend Marc clicking his fingers impatiently. I met him for lunch yesterday at The Spanish Onion. There were no mushrooms on the Specials Board and I was getting the distinct impression that, whilst life may not be too short, he was definitely measuring it.

For some strange reason he was wearing sunglasses (indoors) despite the fact it was dull outside. Worryingly, since we last hooked up, he’s also become a devotee of Wellness. Something of a craze round these parts. I don’t know about you but as far as I’m concerned, wellbeing, isn’t about an extreme lifestyle choice. It’s about not getting sick.

“I’m having on average 7 hours and 36 minutes sleep – I’m timing it,” he said. “When I wake up I immediately turn on the infrared light at the end of my bed and meditate. It helps focus my mind for the day ahead. I shower using only organic products. You do know shampoos and gels are totally toxic? Then I weigh myself and use a litmus strip to test my urine pH levels.”

Goodness, I thought, no time for Cheerios then?

“I take shots of activated charcoal or an isotonic supplement. The latter comes from plankton. That way I stay hydrated. Oh, and by the way I’ve converted to vegetarianism. It’s been scientifically proven that when an animal is killed the cortisol they release into their bodies ends up flowing into yours. However, I’m finding eggs a colonic challenge.” I guessed an omelette for lunch was out.

Apart from the words – it helps keep me hydrated – I didn’t have a clue what Marc was talking about. But I couldn’t help wonder when was the last time he had decent sex. No wonder he was still single.

“So, Greta Garbo, what’s with the sunglasses in January?” I asked.

”They’re a blue light block – it cuts out negative junk,” he said. “Did we high five? I like to share magnetic energy.” He raised a flat palm so naturally I slapped it. Afterwards I could feel a slight tingling but no magnetism. I suppose I should’ve been grateful he wasn’t asking me to take a piss on a colour chart.

This kind of wellness sounded torture to me. I’m all for feeling fit and happy but why does the journey there have to be so monastic? What next, laying on a bed of nails? By all means I’ll cut my cholesterol and even shed a few pounds in the process. Hell, I’ll try not to drink so much alcohol too (ok let’s not get carried away folks), but where’s the joy? The peanut butter? The custard? The immoral thoughts of bearded men with no clothes on?

Later when Guido and I were in bed I asked him if he thought life was too short to appreciate a good mushroom.

”Not if it’s got crushed garlic, chopped parsley, smoked ham and a topping of crispy breadcrumbs.”

Which just goes to show my husband and I know what we like stuffed. And I feel perfectly fine telling you that.