04 Nov Pure Cheese
I’ve been busy. Of course you have, I hear you cry. Your busy-ness and Hanan’s whip-cracking form the base of many a funny blog (funny for you, that is). Well, I have transcended the previous levels of industriousness and I have been working so hard that Hanan actually cooked me lunch.
I was driving home from the office, when I got a call (the fifth in ten minutes) from my wife.
‘Did you finish editing my marketing book?’ she asked.
‘I’ve been driving home since you last asked me,’ I pointed out.
‘Is that a ‘no’?’ my wife clarified.
‘Yes, you’ve finished the book, or yes, it’s a no?’
I was confused and Hanan must have heard the whimper in my voice.
‘Are you hungry?’ she asked suddenly. ‘Shall I make you a grilled cheese sandwich? Something nice and simple!’
It was as if the clouds had parted. Where there had only been the damp misery of unfulfilled To Do lists, there was suddenly the prospect of fried bread and cheese. I agreed and drove a little faster towards home.
I arrived about 20 minutes later to an aroma that made me light-headed. Over the 2 ring electric hob in our temporary kitchen, Hanan was juggling plates and frying pans, while Luca stood by, aghast. I’ll say one thing for my wife, she doesn’t cook for years (or ever) but when she does, it’s an event.
This grilled cheese sandwich started with a sliced red onion, a chopped clove of garlic and a diced green chili. Yes, I know, that’s not like any sandwich I know either, but let me finish. The whole lot was sauteed, then kept to one side, while the bread toasted (in the toaster) before being put into frothing butter and olive oil in a pan. Slices of cheddar were laid on top, and when they started melting, she threw the whole onion mixture back on top. Next came a scattering of fresh coriander leaves. A sprinkling of lightly toasted sesame seeds completed the picture and she deposited the fragrant, crisp, melting product in front of me.
Frankly, I hadn’t felt this overwrought since shooting the love scenes in ‘I Can’t Think Straight.’
I tasted a bite. It was amazing. I had to close my eyes to cope with the deliciousness of it. Luca watched me in barely disguised horror.
‘Gross!’ he said to Hanan. ‘Mama? Everything you cook has a million horrible things in it. Like George’s Marvellous Medicine.’
‘Isn’t it bedtime?’ I asked. It was 2pm but I was being disturbed from my melting, crunchy cheese-fest.
Leaving the sink piled high with dishes, Hanan sat opposite me at our makeshift table and watched me demolish the rest of my lunch. She had the warm glow of someone who has created a masterpiece and seen it appreciated. I looked at her happily.
‘Can I ask you something?’ she asked.
‘Anything!’ I replied.
‘Have you finished editing my book yet?’
Reader, I left the table, my sandwich-euphoria complete, and edited the book. Then I proof-read it, worked on systems for Enlightenment Business Solutions, shot a video of Leonie Casanova rehearsing, answered 300 emails, raised the children, cleaned the house, ignored low-hanging jeans on the chubby Polish builder on the roof outside our bedroom window and now I’m working on structures for I Can’t Think Straight Web Series. Thank goodness it’s Friday.