Shovelling It In

"Now this, this I approve of!" exclaimed Dennis examining the bottle of homemade blackberry wine Mrs. Wolfe had brought to share over their evening repast.

"My dear husband and I bottled that only a few years before he died," said Mrs. Wolfe indicating the date written on the masking tape label she had made. "It's not any of your fancy French wines, but it tastes nice."

Dennis looked closely at Mrs. Wolfe's face. "Are you sure you wish to open it tonight?" he asked.

"I still have many bottles and I don't think Brian would mind. Besides, you said it was a celebration, what better time to do it justice?"

"Right you are Mrs. Wolfe," said Dennis.

"Please, for the evening, call me Eileen," said Mrs. Wolfe looking almost girlish at the concession.

"Eileen it is: and what a lovely name. Have a seat at the table. I only have a few finishing touches to make and our meal will begin. Feel free to start on the hors d'oeuvres."

Mrs. Wolfe looked over the ample delicacies already laid before her. On one platter were a variety of dips including smoked salmon pate, eggplant and caviar, served with breads and beautifully carved vegetables to hold these delights. On another platter were devilled eggs, and brioche filled with avocado mousse. She decided to begin with the brioche.

In wonder she gazed at what he had done with her kitchen. She knew he had been doing a lot of cooking, but the space was well ordered and spotless. Over the sink was a framed picture of Ringo Starr. On one part of the kitchen counter was a portable stereo, and on the other, a computer with a handmade wooden box. As he was cooking Dennis would regularly check the computer monitor and type in a few things.

"What is that for?" asked Mrs. Wolfe pointing at the computer.

"For creating magic, my dear lady. I find it absolutely indispensible. That is where I keep my cooking database. Every time I try a new recipe, I record all of the details there. Every time I create a new recipe, each food stuff and each action I take is carefully inscribed in electrons. Sometimes when I find I only have certain ingredients available in the flat, I type their names in and, voila, those recipes that use those very ingredients are at my fingertips. I even participate in some cooking mailing lists, where I can swap ideas with chefs around the world," enthused Dennis.

"I'm impressed," said Mrs. Wolfe, "But I am afraid those things are too hard for me."

"Tut-tut, Eileen. If you have ever programmed a VCR, that can be a much more daunting task than dealing with a computer," said Dennis while serving pumpkin soup in its own shell. Though he kept his apron on, he pulled off his chef's cap, letting his brown curls fall about his face, and sat down with his guest. He uncorked Mrs. Wolfe's wine and gently poured it into each of their crystal goblets.

"I would like to propose a toast," said Dennis raising his glass, "To a wondrous landlady, the perfect flat and an ideal new career."

"Here, here," Mrs. Wolfe heartily agreed adding, "And to a well behaved and talented tenant."

They sipped their wine. Then began on the soup. Mrs. Wolfe could hardly wait, the smell was driving her wild. She took a large spoonful only to find it scalding hot. "Ow, ow, ow," she cried huffing and puffing.

"Oh dear," exclaimed Dennis as he leapt up to get her a glass of water. "Is that better?" She nodded after a substantial swig, a beatific smile on her face. She wouldn't do that again, but it did taste nice.

"I don' thig I will be talkig mush after thish burn. Why don' you tell me about your new chob?" Mrs. Wolfe managed to say.

"I am so sorry Eileen," Dennis laughed, "Sure, I'll tell you about my new job. It's really the ideal position for me. Do you know the old Georges department store in the city, the posh place on Collins? Well, they are renovating it to become a new high society rock and roll restaurant with models and international celebrities. I've been hired as their chief chef and will start working tomorrow!"

Mrs. Wolfe happily let Dennis enthuse about his new position while she savoured each dish he set before her that evening.


Pigs in the City
Copyright © 1999 Katherine Phelps
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