His best work had always been done when under pressure and he had no doubt that would be true here too. He was armed with a cookbook he had purchased when he moved to the city to make him look travelled and experienced, but he was concerned it wouldn’t be enough, there was about an hour before he had to leave for the hospital and hope was quickly fading that he was going to have finished on time. With his ingredients spread in front of him, it was looking like hard work. Perhaps after a week on hospital food his partner would prefer a takeaway anyway, good old classic fish and chips would surely bring him into better health than a disastrously made casserole.

It was too late to pull out now, as soon as his partner opened the cupboard and found bay leaves in it of all things, He would know he had been cooking, and then the questions on his newfound hobby wouldn’t stop unless he admitted to his casserole plan. When was the last time either he or his partner had eaten a casserole anyway, it must be so long ago that if it did end up tasting completely wrong they may not even know, would both just assume that was what a casserole was meant to taste like and continue on worrying that they were eating too much fish and chips.

Celery sticks were in need of chopping, but first, the oven must be preheated. To be graced with an oven in a company flat was a rarity, and this wasn’t the first time he had been plagued with guilt for not making use of it more often. Surely at some point in the future he could at least manage some cheese on toast, that would make him feel better about it. He did wish he had stuck to his cheese on toast resolutions more often before today; all the dials and buttons were becoming more alarming the longer he studied them and he was not a fan of having to explain a house fire to his partner, possibly even less than having to explain his defeat via casserole.

There had been no frozen carrots left in his freezer when he had checked so he had more than just celery to chop. Best to just get at it really, one can probably fail at making a casserole but he struggled to believe even he could fail at chopping vegetables. Yet again, he was glad his partner was not here to witness his culinary mission, the onion chopping was proving quite emotional and he had quickly realised he wasn’t sure he wanted to turn up at the hospital looking like he had just been crying. He would have to choose the lesser of two evils and admit to his interaction with an onion rather than have them thinking he was crying over his partner’s injuries. It was becoming less clear by the second as to why he wasn’t sitting down at the moment, reading a book, and thinking about the fish and chips he would eat later.

It didn’t come naturally to pour flour into a dish containing vegetables, but the recipe commanded that he did so and therefore so he did. It looked suspicious and yet again he wondered when cooking dinner had become something embarrassing. People ate, didn't they. It was logical that he made his own dinner at least sometimes, no matter how much it was a running joke in the business that nobody really had time for that. He was absolutely certain that nobody would put as much thought into the reasoning and existence of this casserole as he was currently doing. That didn’t make it any less embarrassing, perhaps some more cooking practice was in order.

What he was to do with the remaining vegetable stock he was not sure, perhaps it would act as further motivation to become an impressive cook. It was a real possibility that becoming an impressive cook was quite simply impossible, perhaps aiming to be able to cook without looking over his shoulder at every second to check that nobody knew he was cooking was a better plan. This just should not be this humiliating, perhaps a break was in need to gain some perspective. He didn’t have much left to do at this stage, he would just hurry himself along and then leave early, stop off in a busy corner shop so that the irritation with other people’s children would take over and he could forget about this fated casserole.

In went the worcestershire sauce, another ingredient he had not previously owned and which he would have to be inventive to make use of in the future. Next for the beef he had gained from the butchers earlier, the only aspect of his shopping that he hadn’t felt like an imposter in. His usual homemade meal of a pork chop, potatoes and boiled veg was looking less like a challenge and more like an old friend now, he missed it. If this ever happened again and he had to babysit the invalid, they would be alternating between fish and chips and a good old pork chop, potatoes and boiled veg.

The water was in, the lid was on, and his firstborn was in the oven. Nothing keeping him here now apart from some casual tidying, so he would get on that and he would leave as soon as he could. This was much more familiar territory, he would happily spend his days washing up and tidying dishes away as long as it meant he didn’t have to peruse a supermarket trying to find bay leaves ever again. The thyme at least had come from his own plant that sat on his windowsill, a fact he was as of yet unsure whether he should automatically be embarrassed about or rather pleased. The more time he could spend not being humiliated by making dinner for a friend the better, he needed to go on a stressful shopping trip urgently.

June 27, 2021 22:44

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RBE | We made a writing app for you (photo) | 2023-02

We made a writing app for you

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