When someone else does the cooking

Setting sun outside a restaurantThere is deep joy, I am convinced, in someone else cooking dinner for you. Someone else takes care of the shopping, the preparation, and, most importantly in my opinion, the dreaded washing up.

For Christmas we were given a voucher to a lovely local restaurant. The senior recipe tester and I quickly took the chance to have dinner on our own. But, given that there was money remaining on the voucher, we thought we would have a second intimate dinner. This time for five.

And so last weekend we set out for an evening of relaxation, good food and good conversation.

We had sat at the table for perhaps a minute and a half before the first drink went over. The junior recipe tester who spilled it is such a master at such feats that he now tends to either, try and hide the fact that he's had a spillage, or comment immediately upon the magnitude of spillage in an attempt to reduce the richter scale of exasperation that surely follows.

In this instance he commented immediately on magnitude. Not that much, in his considered opinion. However, given that we were in a restaurant and the drink was special, and filled with ice, he had to make a second admission: his "not very" wet shirt, chair, table and floor were freezing cold. He required assistance.

Assistance was delivered through gritted teeth, but determined not to ruin the evening, we took some deep breaths. Thankfully, at that point the meal arrived.

One soggy junior began to assert that there was a problem. The slow roasted, falling apart, meat sitting on his plate was "too crunchy". We politely suggested he was being ridiculous. No, he insisted, it was crunchy. And, what was more, his teeth were not strong enough to chew it.

I imagine one day we'll encounter this problem again. One day, 40 years from now, the senior recipe tester will sit opposite me at a restaurant. We will hope that the denture glue is steadfast. And I will gaze into his eyes and say, "My teeth are not strong enough to chew this..."