Had a phone call from an ex colleague and friend on Sunday morning. We go out about every 6 weeks (Tony is retired now – we used to share an office). I would never expect a call on a Sunday morning. “Can we ask a huge favour? The Thames is OK (they live right next to it, on an island near Marlow) – but we have had no electricity since Friday evening…and it’s miserable. We just want a shower…”
They are all electric. So, I asked “Would you like to share our lunch”. “Oh, that would be so good to have a hot meal – but we don’t want to put you out – can we buy the food?” No, I said – you would do the same if the roles were reversed…
Luckily, we had bought in a big pile of excellent stewing beef from our lovely butchers in Bourne End – David and Neil, at Collias’s (see Buy Local in the archive…). Slow cooked beef casserole in red wine(and Juniper berries, herbs, mushroom ketchup, lea and perrins and paprika), with herb dumplings and mashed potato and carrot/parsnip. Followed by rhubarb and apple crumble.
Don’t get me wrong – the shower had a very soothing effect. Our friends had arrived not only saying they were traumatised, but actually looking it too. They were bundled up against the pervading cold of their house. We were roasting having done a spring clean in an hour! But the food just put the top hat on it.
The house smelt as inviting as a casserole always does – the warm oniony unctuousness just gives you a cuddle, doesn’t it?
This may sound strange, but it was lovely to do. To see Tony and Rose leave a few hours later, when they had also had confirmation that the electricity was back on (and they both did a little jig of joy when that happened) – it was just heartwarming to witness.
It just shows the restorative power of food!