Yesterday's lunch was a disappointment. I'd brought in some brown bread (homemade) and some mushroom soup (homemade) but the bread was a little bit stale and the soup was spoiled. Already grey, it had green spots and farted when I lifted the lid of the tupperware. I slid it into a resealable sandwich bag and plopped it into the bin.
Did you think I'd eat it?
I ate the bread alright. I didn't have much option, or any change for the vending machine, and anyway, I am very pious at lunch. I eat very well when other people are watching.
Did you make it yourself? my colleagues ask. Oh yes, I say, and I'll mealy-mouth about how it's cheaper than buying bread or about how I can't eat shop-bought soup because I'm allergic to MSG. Oh, god, shut up. I think I'm better than them. How sad for me, that my bread is stale and my soup spoiled.
I made fresh bread last night. I had to use the top oven to bake the bread. I'm not sure I'd ever used it before. I'd cleaned the main oven on Sunday evening but it still stank of ammonia, so I couldn't use it. Andrew scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed at it and we left it on at full heat for an hour, to burn off the chemicals. I reread the back of the can of foam spray I'd used, in case I'd missed something. It says not to use it for eight hours, I said to Andrew, and that was a full 24 hours ago now. But there was no arguing with the catpiss stench the oven belched when you opened its door. I'd never cleaned an oven before. I'm not so great.
But I did make fresh soup. Pumpkin soup. And I grew the pumpkin. I'll be sure to mention that.
My brother tells me that my two-and-a-half-year-old niece is into roleplay at the moment. You be the babies, she says to her parents, and I'll be you, daddy. She stands outside the bedroom door and tells them to Cry, babies! then storms in and barks Why are you crying, babies? It's time to go asleep! It cracks them up.
My mother taught me to cook. To spite her, I aped the TV chefs, laying all my ingredients out in bowls and on saucers. My mother's insistence on using leftovers disgusted me. The first time she made her own cranberry sauce she made a full batch, we ate it on Christmas day and then unknowingly in every curry, casserole and stew she made for a full year. When she told me, it is no exaggeration to say that I felt betrayed. And now look. I made pumpkin soup but it didn't taste like much so I rummaged in the fridge to see what else I could add to it. There was half a roll of soft goat's cheese slowly drying in its wrapper, so I added that. There was a tupperware of leftover day-old mashed turnip and a bowl of week-old colcannon. So I added those.
No sense in wasting them, I said to myself.