I forgive you for being rude to my children two Christmasses ago. You couldn’t help lacking the social awareness to realise that you simply do not snatch things from out of people’s hands even if they are children who wouldn’t know how to complain.
I was perhaps a little OTT in writing a letter of complaint and suggesting that the establishment needed to offer refresher course in customer relations.
And I decided that life is too short to feel grumpy with people and that this mundane but relatively polite woman doesn’t really deserve the wrath I felt tempted to unleash on her every time we cross paths.
Then she had to say this when she was serving me today, didn’t she?
Don’t you miss home?
What I wished I had said was that my ‘home’ was five minutes away and yes, I have been away from it, but only for an hour so that I could nip to Dunnaways Taxi (the oldest family run Taxi Company in Chichester) to see Peter who also happens to be part of the family.
What I said instead was some jumbled up mumble that I haven’t been ‘home’ for over fifteen years.
The truth is, this is my home. I have spent my whole adult life in England. I have seven English children (British if you want to be pedantic). English is the language I speak in daily since I was 18 and the folks who work at the Malaysian Passport Office smirk and chortle at my grasp of the Malay language now. I make a mean Yorkshire pudding and goddammit, I have photographic evidence of it!
But tut tut, life is really too short and my visiting family is currently in Brighton taking in the sea air. My Mum had the wisdom to deduct that she went a tad overboard by wearing her thermals yesterday is only taking an extra pair of socks with her today just in case it gets colder.
So instead, both Slaveboy and I took the opportunity to have a five minutes breather in town. We contemplated trying out a cafe that we haven’t been before as there are a few but honestly, SniffSnorters, I just couldn’t do it. I was so tired from the lack of sleep and constantly trying trying to keep myself in check (I am notorious for the most creative use of expletives) that what I needed was to go to somewhere predictably acceptable.
We went to Maison Blanc down south street, briefly stopping at Steamer Trading CookShop to say hello to the KitchenAid that will one day be mine. My favourite French waiter wasn’t there today and I did feel somewhat deflated by that. Slaveboy had pain au raisin and a hot chocolate (without whipped cream) and I had an orange and raspberry juice with Tentation, a chocolate raspberry sponge slice, deliciously covered in a raspberry chocolate ganache.
Maison Blanc has always been, in the past couple of years, predictably good. There isn’t the smack you in the face you’ve just had a sweet confectionary epiphany effect but you know your coffee will be good and the service competent. They also do the most outrageous High Tea for under £20.
It was a very welcome break. I chatted to Slaveboy about how taken aback I am at how much my older brother has aged and the amount of weight he’d lost. I came up with my theory of acceptable fine line of fatness and how ageing people often look better with a little extra padding on. I realise here that diabetes experts all over the world are probably weeping into their mugs of rooibos tea for my ignorant comment. For that I must apologise.
It was then back home to sort out the masses of food we have been gifted from my family. We did our usual thing of loading them onto our seats 10 dining table. It literally covered it. In our true SniffSnort household fashion, we sort off ate some of it, if only to lessen the pressure on our larder shelves, you see. Sweet chilli glazed fried tapioca slices. Crunchy, herby gram flour fried snacks. Peanut butter biscuit sandwiches. We pretty much went through a lot of these. But then, there are a lot of us. The 3kg of dried anchovies are in the fridge, ready or me to make fried anchovies sambal with.
I actually have FIFTEEN tins of this. Minus one, actually. As my Mum has insisted I cooked the one tin which acquired some dents during the flight. Apparently, something happens to the content when the tin gets dented. My Mum doesn’t know what. I’m just being the dutiful daughter and I’ve cooked it. It was pretty simple. You sauté some onion and garlic in a pan, empty the content of the tin into the pan with some sliced bird’s eye chillies and bring it up to heat and simmer for a while. Eat with some freshly boiled rice.
I was thinking that all the while my visiting family is here, I’d share with you what we’ve been cooking for dinner. Yesterday, Firstborn made lasagne which went down a storm and my sister-in-law even had it for breakfast today. Today, we will be having tinned sardines in tomato sauce cooked with onions & chillies, vegetable green Thai curry, chicken pieces roasted in sesame seed oil & turmeric then coated in a caramelised sugar chilli sauce with ginger, spring onions & toasted sesame seeds with freshly boiled basmati rice. Oh of course, with some grated carrots, cherry tomatoes an sliced cucumber salad. There won’t be any dessert tonight as I am somewhat scrabbling for ideas at the moment. My pavlova received a lukewarm reception yesterday and times like that I realise how much I have changed as I should’ve remembered what an acquired taste berries and whipped cream could be. A bit like breastfeeding a one year old, which both my Mum and sister-in-law found interesting.