The vegetarian meal

About this: I’m a little fed up about being circumspect about language at the moment, so don’t read if you’re sensitive about Anglo Saxon dialect.

You’re sitting at work, enjoying a sandwich, pork pie or sausage roll and your vegetarian workmate has a go at you for being a carnivore. Quite why it’s vegetarians who’re so uninhibited about expressing notions of their own superiority in relation to diet is a mystery. Not once has a colleague adhering to Jewish or Muslim dietary restrictions ever berated me in the same manner but it’s happened to me with more than one vegetarian and, judging by the weariness most people regard vegetarians with it’s not an uncommon experience. It was during one of these occasions that I related the incident of—the vegetarian meal to the offending colleague. In truth it wasn’t a vegetarian meal, it was just a meal made without meat, fat, gristle or gelatine, the word vegetarian denotes a philosophical view, not the list of ingredients. The vegetarian meal is an incident worthy of note because the meal itself was not just the tastiest most delicious, most alluring meal I’ve ever experienced; it coincided with a few events that served to instil a sharp irony.

It occurred during my flat sharing days, I had an old girlfriend over for a few days and she spied a recipe book that I’d bought when I first moved into the flat. It was a book I’d acquired with the intention of teaching myself how to cook, domestic circumstances had deprived me of home cooked food for a while and the move into the flat provided my first opportunity prepare my own meals, rather than living on take outs. She was entertaining herself whimsically thumbing through the pages, ogling the colour plates, you know in the idle way that fems occupy themselves, when I told her to choose something and I’d have a go at making it, see how much I learned from my own forays into the text of the book. It wouldn’t be my first go at a proper meal but I discovered from my first experience that there’s something unrewarding about the sound of single set of cutlery echoing through an otherwise empty flat on a Sunday afternoon. So the adventure commenced for her on Saturday afternoon, tracking down ingredients, aubergines, herbs and such like, it’s fair to say she did shine here, we couldn’t get button mushrooms, so she went for gill mushrooms, selected wholemeal pasta instead of the kind specified in the recipe and a few other tweaks like adding a topping sauce, which is what we needed the mushrooms for. As the task progressed, it became apparent that this was now her project and my part in the enterprise had been suborned to the role of assistant.

After shopping we get back to the flat and it’s still empty, it’s like that on weekends everyone goes back to mum to get their washing done, those ‘domestic circumstances’ precluded that particular benefit for me, so all my clothes were shrinking fast as I was struggling with a top loader. We commenced preparations for the meal and it was a bit of task, utilising almost all the pots and pans in the kitchen, most of the rings on the cooker and the oven, so just as well no one else was around wanting to cook then? So of course two of the other flat occupants turn up out of the blue don’t they, fucking typical, one of ’em has a desperate need to cook his dinner while we’re monopolising the cooker, yeah fuck off and get a McDonald’s. I like to think that I played a small but critical role in the preparation of the meal, kept an eye on the mushrooms sauce, made sure didn’t reach the boil, things like that. There was a period we she was getting a bit distracted, wanted to fool around while it was in the oven. It was vegetarian lasagne by the way, so it spends about twenty, thirty minutes in the oven, plenty of time to squeeze one from her in the bedroom but I can’t rush things that way, so I kept things focused and made sure the side servings got their share of attention. I could understand her friskiness though, something was stirring in the kitchen, an engagement of the olfactory sense that aroused more than just appetite for a meal. I still have the book, I suppose I could look up the list of ingredients, herbs and such like but I’m pretty sure that trying to recreate the exact conditions would be fruitless, as I mentioned we took certain liberty with the recipe.

As a courtesy we offered to share the meal with my two flatmates, one of which took up the offer but the guy who’d been twitching to get an oven ring declined in a somewhat perfunctory manner, as if to it was an offence even to ask him. The other flatmate turned out to be just as graceless in his own way, more of that later, the meal itself turned out to be a fitting consummation, it satisfied in the eating such as it had teased with its aroma as it cooked. Bill, I can’t recall his real name but that’s what we’ll call the guy who took up the offer to share the meal, scoffed assiduously as he watched the telly. Michael, I think that actually was his real name, wasn’t around, probably painting his dungeon and dragons figures in room I expect. After the utensils and dishes get watched, myself and my companion retire to my room for a bit of light post dinner canoodaling. We return after a while and I’m starting to feel a bit urge for second helping so I look to the pan we left leftovers in, only to find that Bill had eaten it all. Honestly I hate cunts like that, the day when we can identify them prenatally and engage in some judicious eugenics, can’t come soon enough. This time however, Bill’s behaviour was the cause behind the ironic twist in this story. Michael was out of his room by now, cooking his meal of lentils and Bill chirps up, ‘What meat was in that lasagne?’.

‘No meat, it was a vegetarian meal,’ I reply, resisting the urge to gut him with the bread knife. Mike starts at this news, you guessed it, he’s a vegetarian and he’s just passed over possibly the only decent vegetarian meal of his entire life for his bowl of lentils. Meanwhile Bill is full of praise for the meal, how delicious it was, how moreish.

‘Yeah’ I said, ‘I wanted more too, some fucking cunt ate the rest of it’.

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~ by deadspidereye on March 7, 2017.

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