Jaqui's Daily Blog

Our Perfect Guests

Granddaughter Eleanor and her friend Nathan are out in my kitchen, cooking up a storm.


Well, not a storm exactly - Singapore noodles with chicken and prawns in actual fact (I know you like the detail) - but you know what I mean. They had arrived just before six o’clock on Saturday evening (Eleanor and Nathan, that is, not the Singapore noodles, though I suppose to be strictly accurate they came together), laden down with bags of food and drink. Everything you could need, in fact, for a delicious evening meal.


There are just a few ingredients, they say, which they hope I might already have in my larder. This said with sunny (and totally misplaced) confidence in me. I pretend that I will, I am sure, be able to lay my hands on any basic items required - keeping all my fingers crossed, of course. I would like to say that I have a well-stocked larder; I have found, however, that when happening across a tasty sounding recipe in a magazine or newspaper, I have to spend out inordinate amounts of money on ingredients which other people would describe as “cupboard basics.”  Eleanor says not to worry if I am missing anything, they will trot down to the garage shop if necessary.


As it turns out, by some Minor Miracle, I manage to find soy sauce, garlic and eggs so a garage trip proves unnecessary. Eleanor says she could have brought eggs with them but wasn’t sure they would survive the drive from Brighton intact. She is an Extremely Sensible Cook.


How times change! I am thinking, as I perch on a kitchen stool and watch the pair of them chopping peppers and spring onions, cutting the chicken into chunks and preparing the wok for stirring and frying. It hardly seems any time ago that Eleanor was measuring out flour, butter, sugar and eggs under my careful supervision as I showed her how to bake “Maiden’s Prayers.” As taught me, in turn, by my dear Mum.


It would be gratifying to think that if my granddaughter ever appeared on a cookery programme like Masterchef, she would credit her grandmother (aka Yours Truly) with introducing her to the culinary arts. So many contestants on those programmes talk about learning to cook at their granny’s side. Especially those contestants with an Italian background, speaking lovingly of their “Nonnas”. I am not sure my lessons in cooking jam tarts, sausage rolls, Ready Jelly Gos and Maiden’s Prayers would cut the mustard. Which is obviously a cooking term, you understand.


Our meal is totally delicious, Mr B (aka Grandad) and I agree. For one who is Always Thinking About Her Stomach, what could be better than having a meal cooked for one, from scratch, in one’s own kitchen, without having to lift a finger?


After our dinner, we sit and chat for ages - our visitors are delightful company. We hear all about the challenges and triumphs of university life, talk about families and share some profound thoughts on growing up and growing old. 


Then off they go, waving goodbye as they go. The perfect guests.


When did she grow up, that little girl with the riotously curly hair and smudge of flour on her nose, making pastry in my kitchen and battling with her big sister over Possession of the Rolling Pin? 


But then, as some wise person once said, what goes round, comes round.

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Latest comments

23.04 | 20:15

lovely and heartwarming - an inspiration to us all x

09.03 | 12:07

Love this story told as ever beautifully.x

10.11 | 21:31

What a super account of a special event. I loved meeting you last night and seeing your creation come together. I’m so pleased you got so much from the activity

07.09 | 13:17

I have broad shoulders x

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