Yesterday, while I was in the middle of precarious mushroom-cooking, which, of course, means never crowding the pan, slicing the chestnut mushrooms all up uniformly, using good butter, letting it get brown and nutty-smelling, before throwing in the mushrooms at a reasonable heat, and then leaving them longer than you think feels right, and then a gentle cruising around the pan, with a last minute crush of garlic thrown in, and parsley, and a squeeze of lemon juice and generous salt and pepper addition, when I get a call from Mark from the top of the stairs asking for some help. I was Extremely Busy with the mushrooms as previously described, so I yell out I’M COOKING MUSHROOMS! which I hope he bloody well understands, seeing as he is the mushroom-lover and I am only really the mushroom-not-really-bothered-type and so he does seem to understand, and quits calling, and gets the children to help with his mysterious loot.
Down the stairs with bangs and scrapes and crashy sounds and sweating children and cursing Mark comes these SURPRISE! items of gargantuan industrial-sized domestic utility, thrown through the window as many of them wouldn’t fit through the door…
1. An alarming amount of sirloin steak (see the bleeding carcass taking up a shelf of fridge):
An enormous jar of peppercorns:
So many gherkins:
A tower of toilet paper:
A hidden army of paper towels, shoved in between the winter coats like a disappointingly temperate, absorbent, hygiene-driven Narnia:
And a catering-sized slab of salmon, just perfect for wedding canapés for a party of 200:
And while the items of suburban-housewifery-delight mounted up in the living room, obscuring the TV, the dog went up our stairs and perhaps excited by the amount of toilet rolls begging to be torn apart, he did a big poo just behind the gate where each member of the family (except for me, owing to the mushrooms) stood in and walked through the flat. And then the children started to make Rachel Whiteread-esque towers of pulped paper stacks and jumping on them and crushing them so that they could no longer be easily pinned onto the toilet roll holder and so Mark, cross about the poo and cross about the sirloin steak thundering down our outdoor stairs with bits of cement grazed into its frosty exterior and perhaps cross about my unenthusiastic response towards the new space invaders, shouted out in some sort of desperation
“ALL THESE ROLLS FOR ONLY A TENNER! AMAZING!”
And he really wanted to know if I was pleased. And so I just carried on with my mushrooms, and then went to clean up the poo, with a kind of neutral-face. Because, Dear Reader, I don’t think our flat needs more stuff in it, even if bulk-buying may make some economic sense. I DON’T CARE ABOUT THAT. I want my cupboards back, and my fridge shelves back, and those peppercorns will still be lurking in our cupboard in two years time. And as for the gherkins, as we currently do not own a Jewish deli, so I can’t see rapid consumption of them, either. As for that freakish piece of salmon, well, you know that fish and fish things revolt me to my very core, but you may not know that the last two bits of Heston Blumenthal’s salmon has gotten stinky in the fridge because M forgot to eat them.
Poor fella. He just doesn’t get it.
(Thanks to my lovely assistant Sue, who helped out with my photos. I am too pregnant to lift that jar of gherkins, obvs. And, for the record, she agrees that the cost-cutting benefits of buying in bulk do not outweigh the awfulness of being donked on the head every time you open an overstuffed shelf in a two-bedroom flat currently housing four kids, two adults, a dog, nearly another baby, and too many handbags.)
On a less whiney note, summer has arrived, in a properly hot kind of way. And school finishes next week, and Turkey will be MINE!
In the meantime, we have been strawberry-picking:
A spot of flat whiting perched high in the Summer Pavilion on my way to see the Bowie exhibition at the V&A:
Growing ever more fat-tastic:
Attending a hangi in aid of fundraising for London’s only Te Kohanga Reo, complete with pois for sale, ginger crunch, a powhiri, polynesian dancers and a Maori cape that Barnaby spent three years’ worth of birthday money on:
And delousing everyone in the family. I’ll spare you the photos, but there were some massive little critters in Casper’s woolly head.
So happy holidays to everyone, enjoy the weather, I shall be back with tales of Turkey and pools, gulets and turtles, 40 degree heat and baba ganoush.