I’m half sitting, half lying on my bed, the laptop on my raised thigh, a glass of Pinot Noir just left of me on my mother’s old trousseau kist next to the bed. I had stripped it of its crumbling varnish a couple of years ago and painted the sides of it with white chalk paint I mixed myself: I had imagined a glass of wine next to my bed on it at the time.
The bedroom doors are open to a freshly weeded and composted vegetable garden: the sun mostly behind late summer clouds, and from somewhere far off in the next street, the sounds of a gospel choir mingles with frantic screeches of finches at the bird feeder hanging at the edge of the back garden.
I have just made a coleslaw: in a little while my husband and I will have a late, lazy Sunday lunch, followed by an afternoon nap. He is in his studio, arranging music: every now and then I hear a melodic burbling of an alto sax as he tries out a new phrase. Earlier I sent him off to Woolworths, to get a ready roasted chicken to have with salad: I simply felt too lazy to cook anything from scratch today.
It feels as if I am entering a new phase: a consolidation or narrowing down of time spent cooking. There’s the issue of trying to lose a little middle age weight: cooking with less abandon, using calorie specific recipes which I had never considered before, drinking no wine in the week-day evenings. And then there’s the reality of not having my sons around to cook for anymore. They are in Cape Town and China respectively, suddenly completely too far away for the kind of Sunday lunches I loved to have them over for: lots of food, lots of wine, talking, their wives/girlfriends/friends around the table and lots of lighthearted banter buzzing about. Even though my husband’s son is still around, it’s not quite the same to have him over by himself, something I’m really
struggling to assert in a kind but clear way.
Today I’m a little wistful for those Sunday lunches and Wednesday dinners, which my sons’ friends even envied. And yet, I’m aware of a certain recognition of the inevitability of this all: a sideways drift into a slow sweet coupledom: cooking mostly for two, but also choosing to not cook at all. A shift into a new identity almost: a more sober, more simple, more intimate relationship with food and cooking.