I am, I have to admit, an unadventurous eater. Which, you are doubtless thinking, is strange for one who is Always Thinking About Her Stomach.
In particular, I am not
very good at interpreting a menu, even when it is written in English. I read the words most carefully but, however hard I try, I can never visualise what the collective ingredients will look like on the plate. I have experienced many a disappointment over
the years when my starter or main arrived before me, resembling not in the least the platter in my imagination. Puddings aren't such a problem, I find. There's not much even the most avant garde of chefs can do to mess with a lemon tart, bread and butter pudding
or sticky toffee pudding. The taste may vary but they generally always look as they should on my pudding plate.
Take me abroad and the problems multiply, due to my unfortunate habit of thinking that I can
remember enough of my O Level French and German, not to mention derivatives from the Latin language, to translate the names of dishes on any menu. This is pure arrogance on my part - or, to put a kinder interpretation on it (as we are talking interpretation
here) - misplaced confidence in my linguistic abilities. I once ordered an omelette for Mr B, assuring him that it was of a cheese variety. Unfortunately for Mr B, it turned out to be a potato omelette. He wasn't best pleased. On another occasion, I ordered
myself what I firmly believed would be a delicious beef meal - only to discover when it appeared before me that it was a dish of which the main ingredient was kidneys. Which I hate with a Deadly Hatred. Mr B thought it was amusing anyway.
Today Mr B and I celebrated Betweenies Day with a lovely lunch out with the Delightful Delia (she of the delicious biscuits served up midway through our monthly cribbage sessions) and her fella Jim who is King of Quizzes, Cryptic
Crosswords and Scrabble but also makes a mean cup of coffee to accompany Delia's Delicious Biscuits. The annual Betweenies Day, by the way, is so known because it comes between our anniversary (which was yesterday) and my birthday (which is tomorrow.)
I dropped the menfolk off outside the restaurant then Delia and I drove off to park the car. This meant that we had a pleasant saunter back along the riverside walk. The last time I traversed this route I was huffing
and puffing as I chased after the Rampaging Rascal on his ride-along scooter. It was far, far easier to keep up with Delia.
The men had either nabbed, or been allocated, a splendid table for four in the window,
overlooking the river. We ordered our starters and I opted, uncharacteristically, for adventure with a trio of fish with a beetroot chutney. Delia said she would have ordered this too but she doesn't like beetroot. I didn't think I did either, to be honest,
but the pink mixture on my plate was wholly delectable. Mindful of the beetroot growing steadily in my vegetable boxes, I determined to track down the recipe forthwith. Or anyway, once we got home.
meal in Frankie and Benny's, or Ben and Jerry's, or even Tom and Jerry's (I am certain to have got it wrong) was not a patch on our lunch today at 47 Mussel Row. What's more, my main meal was free, as a birthday present. If I'd brought another four people
along we'd have been given a free bottle of the house wine but then it wouldn't have been the same. Eight people is a party, four is a Meal With Friends.
A Meal with Friends, in a splendid setting, overlooking
a river with boats and swans and marauding seagulls.
Quite the perfect way to spend Betweenies Day.