What do you do on a lazy afternoon?
I am staring at three fully ripe bananas.
“Shame you are not baking-inclined. It’s such an easy recipe…”
Here I am, staring at three fully ripe bananas resting on a plate. Not just any plate. It’s a decorated plate from Rome. A calf with big round eyes wiggling its tail among the tall grass, a fork and a tagine. Hand written with the design are these scribbles : rigatoni alla Vaccinara, and round its edge, Ristorante “Cacciani”, Frascati. That is a town located 12 miles southeast of Rome, I had to Google to find out. Turn the plate over and in permanent black ink is the year 1988. We have another plate with a different design that says 1990.
I remember the years. Those early years when I first landed in England, when he no longer regarded the fortnight-long overseas assignments as glamorous. His Italian colleagues still wined and dined him nevertheless, and afterwards a decorated plate for him to take home. Those early years I struggled with cooking a proper meal. Indeed, I came from a totally different world where house chores were for mothers and mothers alone. Who was I to break the tradition? So while mum was thousands of miles away, he had to come home after work to supervise in the kitchen.
A quarter of a century later, he can now look forward to a home cooked meal after a long day. Braised oxtail? No problem. Just the other day, he mentioned it casually that I can do better than the Italians. Bravo, alla Vaccinara! Of course I am not letting it go to my head, given a choice I’ll surrender the kitchen anytime.
I have come a long way, don’t you think? What started this reminiscence? Right, I was staring at three fully ripe bananas. See, although I am willing to feed us with proper meals, up to this day I still refuse to have messy fingers. So, on this lazy afternoon, I am just sitting here and keep staring, wishing these bananas were a cake. Someone might, just might, grant me the wish.