June 12: my plate

My plate has changed over recent months. I was always a traditionalist; a meat and two veg. The meat dark, unstained by any sauce or gravy, potato in any of its guises, a green or a carrot, maybe a green and a carrot. Maybe some cooked apple with that, for pork or even for chicken. When you have this kind of plate before you, you try and make each part of the meal last so that you finish meat, potato and veg at the same time. You alternate forkfulls of each, so that your forkfull of cabbage is followed by a piece of chicken, followed by your favourite, the roast potato. This way you inch yourself through to a clean plate. Then there would be the pudding smothered in custard. These days my plate looks mostly different: a bed of brown rice topped with some heavily peppered vegetables. No meat. My heart sinks when I see it and I think how can I get through this? Where are my tiny morsels of reward, my mouthfuls of roast potato? And yet, I do get through it. There is a gap between the promise and the result. My mind isn’t keeping up. It is like when you buy a pizza because of some memory and then half way through find you are eating cardboard. I must be in transition between various plates, their promise and their reality. Unlike many, I do not take snapshots of dinners. Why would you do that? To preserve a memory? But then, after some time you find yourself with long scrolls of meals and birthday cakes on your computer file. When was this one with the red velvet cake? Oh, that must have been the Christening that time when it was raining. No, that was when we had leg of lamb. Look, here’s that leg of lamb here. Correct. There is that leg of lamb. Still whole on the screen, looking unappetising as only photographs of food can do. Looking like a club. No, all my plates are in my head, where they belong.

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