This past week I have had my mum staying with me. To be clear from the start, this is a very good thing. My mum is brilliant and as she and my dad live in South West France we don’t see enough of them, so a week long visitation was a lovely treat.
There was only one thing.
The food talk.
If you were married to James Martin, with Mary Berry and Michel Roux Snr as your parents and Matilda Ramsey as your daughter, you would still not experience as much food talk as has gone on in my house this week.
It starts at breakfast with idle musings on what to have for lunch and supper – perfectly reasonable you may say.
BUT, just as you are grabbing your purse to shop for the agreed components for said meals, up pops mum “is it coffee time?”
Yes yes, of course, coffee time. And a biscuit, no problem.
How civilised, morning coffee and a chat with your mother. Until she gets that look in her eye and you know what is to come “of course we don’t have to have the sausages tonight, we could have a backed ham or maybe some fish”
I reach into my bag for the shopping list and scrub sausages from the plan.
“So…ham or fish?” I press for an answer
“Ham, let’s have ham and then we can use the leftovers for tomorrow”
Great! Two meals decided in one go! I down my coffee, pocket the list and head for the shops while the going is good.
As soon as set foot in the supermarket the mobile goes “which ham are you going to get?”
“umm..” (this could be a trick question) “unsmoked?”
“a nice joint though. Are you going to the butcher? It will be nicer from the butcher”
“Well, I’m in the supermarket but I can go to the butcher afterwards.”
“OK, good. Will you be back in time for lunch?”
Lunch? Of course, it is midday, it must be time for lunch.
“I’ll make a start” says mum “what would you like? Would you like a sandwich? I’m having a sandwich, I’ve got a craving for white bread, can you pick up some white bread?”
Shopping done, I make it home for lunch (sandwich on white bread) and further discussion about the next meal.
Will we have boiled new potatoes? Or maybe the sliced ones in cream and garlic. Did you buy some greens? Fresh greens would be lovely. How shall we cook the ham? Will you do a honey and mustard glaze?
Finally, a post lunch lull. Time to catch up on some work, put a wash on, drag the dog around the block. Better be quick though because before you know it..
…time for afternoon tea!
Cup of tea (milk in first, don’t squeeze the bag), piece of cake (homemade, natch) more chat, mostly food timing related.
What time shall we eat? Is the oven on yet? Don’t forget to change the water in the ham pan. Oh, and you will roll and slice the greens individually leaf by leaf won’t you? So much nicer!
Finally, the much anticipated repast is upon us. Teens have been wrenched from screens and reacquainted with the dining room table. Places have been set with cloth napkins and side plates – correct Granny etiquette has been observed.
The potatoes are perfect, the greens sliced correctly, the ham boiled to perfection (we decided against the glaze).
We savour our first mouthfuls and sit in the brief respectful silence that a lovely plate of food commands.
“Just what I fancied. Now, what shall we have tomorrow night? I saw a lovely recipe for slow cooked lamb in Good Food magazine. You could pop up to the butcher tomorrow…”