My wife is pregnant. She’s also suffering from horrendous morning sickness and is presently abed, looking for all the world like a character study for The Raft of the Medusa. I feel for her, and wish I were not so potent. Alas.
Anyway, moving swiftly on to my own travails, Mrs Disappointed’s affliction necessitates that I fend for myself. Being a self-reliant sort of bloke, I do, to some extent, embrace this challenge. Indeed, I’ve fallen back instinctively upon the well-practiced arts of batchelorhood. Who knew that they still lay, so fresh and vital, just beneath the surface of matrimonial dependency?
Firstly, my trusty school rugby socks – now approaching 21 years old (Can you believe it? With nary a hole too.) – may still be worn for at least a week without an noticeable aroma wafting north nor any appreciable loss of comfort. To my mind, that’s some sock. The old ways still serve a man as surely as they ever did. And if the public school sock can still do sterling service with the consort hors de combat and the washing machine a veritable Fermatean conundrum, you’d better believe the humble tin o’ beans is still an ever ready comestible companion in time of great need. Oh yes…
On the menu tonight:
Some chicken, set aside for the cat;
One clove garlic;
A healthy glug of tabasco;
One powerful wrist flick of curry powder;
One tin of beans;
One dash of sesame oil;
One satisfied customer.
If I don’t say so myself, I’m pretty handy in the kitchen, especially when necessity shoulders me roughly into action. I suppose the above leguminous tour de force wouldn’t be to everyone’s taste, but there’s a lot to be said for pleasing yourself. Some might averr that this is simply latent masculine selfishness rearing its ugly head, but if I’m merely the servant of my DNA, shall I be blamed?
Men are simple creatures and all the more loveable for that. What makes them so uncomplicated and satisfyingly predictable is a simple feature of their make up: they know what they want. So it is in the kitchen. Most men could live off three dishes – spaghetti, beans and a fry up – obviously in rotation. Let’s not be silly. Though I’m a rare and incongruous cove in almost every other respect, this rule does apply to me as readily as to my stock brethren. If I had to go self-catering for any duration, I should be perfectly happy. Indeed, I’m already tantalised by the prospect of tomorrow’s fare, which shall be my incomparable pasta. It’s spaghetti, to be precise, and it requires only four ingredients, including the tomatoes and the spaghetti. Try it, I dare you.
The sauce requires:
One tin of anchovies in olive oil;
One tin of tomatoes;
As many cloves of garlic as you like.( If you’re wife’s pregnant, best to go easy, as the olfactory senses go into overdrive.)
Turn the hob on as high as it will go. Only way to cook. Whack the anchovies and all their accompanying olive oil into the pan. Chuck the garlic in too and cook for a bit until the oil spits out and burns your hand. Then add the tomatoes. Put a lid on and go a way for a bit and do something. As far as precise cooking times are concerned, I should say that fixing a punctured inner tube is a little too long, ironing an increasingly threadbare bespoke Budd shirt is probably a little too short, but writing a pithy letter to The Spectator is probably about right – though I am quite a fastidious wordsmith, so do adjust accordingly.
Come back and your sumptuous repast is ready (if you’ve remembered to put the spag on).
So, they you have it. The man of the house is also master of the kitchen – at least for the next eight months.