There’s something about the morning after a dinner party… it is usually a Sunday morning, like today, so there is that quality in the waking up of there being no rush at all…. Also, there is a certain melancholy to empty wine glasses, and abandoned linen napkins on the table, some not even used, some half folded, others (usually mine) crumpled up and marked with lipstick…

I walked through to the dining room and lounge this morning, earlier that I thought I’d wake up, with my first cup of tea, looking at the remains, and reminders of the evening before, remembering lively conversation, and the delight of cooking, and eating a meal with people I care for.

I don’t ever do dishes directly after a dinner party.. at the most I let a guest(if they insist) take some crockery to the kitchen, but usually I would clear away just enough to make space for elbows and a last lingering around, finishing the wine, sometimes for port and coffee.

I remember how when I grew up, the women always retreated to the kitchen after dinner: and because I was(am) a girl, I had to also go to the kitchen and help do the dishes. My mother would wash, still in her pretty dress, and the women, sometimes my aunts, all would be standing in a row with dishtowels ready to dry and pack away the crockery.. I hated being in the kitchen with the women. I wanted to go and sit on my dad’s lap and listen to the men talking and inhale the cigarette smoke and smell the brandy on my dad’s breath as he talked and smoked and sipped an after dinner drink. Only when the kitchen was sparkling clean, and the dishcloths were steeping in the sink, in bleach, would the women rejoin the men and have tea..

When I’ve posted this, I will start clearing up… at the most I will take everything through to the kitchen, restore the vase with red roses to its place on the dining room table, stack the dishwasher and put the fragrant leftovers of the chicken tagine which I cooked last night, in the fridge. I have a lunch to go to, and before that a long overdue visit to my sister in law: the wife of the brother whom my boyfriend (ah, fiancée!!) is playing golf with this morning. And later, when I get back, I will think about posting the recipe for the chicken tagine, as requested by one of my guests last night, a faithful follower of my foodblog….

And so, to the kitchen!