Chicken or Beef?

IMG_9148Inspired by:Barry Clarke

I imagine many of us have ageing parents and I have to admit that there are times I just wonder how I am supposed to fit my Mom (Gran) into my very busy schedule.  I phone religiously every day, but it is nothing like spending quality time.  She comes alive when she has an hour or two with her family and I have this guilt tug every weekend if I haven’t fitted a visit in.

So, what are the odds.  Two of her three grandchildren are home, I haven’t seen her over the weekend, I do feel guilty, so I invite her to join us for dinner.  With speed faster than sound itself she responds to my sms and our date is on.  I finish work, speed walk the dogs around the block and get ready for the date with Gran.  Thinking I’m doing everyone a favour, we fetch Gran and surprise her to an evening at Wijnhuis, a stunning little restaurant in Newlands, that caters to everyone’s taste.  She is delighted……I think, but does complain that had she known, she would have dressed more appropriately (she always looks good)… She courageously orders a “medium cream sherry please’ and I’m delighted, this is going to be a great evening.  We sit and try and chat for a while, but the background noise is difficult for her.  I lean in, and she and I start to discuss the menu options.  “Definitely PASTA” she says.  I look at the options and I’m thrilled that they offer one of her favourites………..”Mom, I say, they have CHICKEN, mushroom and cream tagliatelle”, I’m smiling in my heart because I know this is a winner for her.  She studiously revues the menu, and in the meantime I am bantering with my children, who are both so happy to have this outing.  Before I know it, our fabulous favourite waitron is ready for the order…..Gran  is up first, as a matter of courtesy……”Yes Ma’am?”  “Spaghetti and meatballs ,”she says fiercely.  We all look at her aghast, but say nothing.  She is a mature woman, in charge of her destiny and very aware of what she wants to eat, but then she adds, “I only want half a portion,” patiently it is explained to us the there is only one size, she can take a doggy bag home to which she mutters something under her breath, while we are all rolling our eyes, and I’ve now very strongly suggested that she will do just fine with her meal and we will use whatever is left over. We then place our orders and happily quaff our delicious wine and the steamiest, freshest bread in Cape Town.  Phew, a little tension, but it has passed….

The meals arrive one after the other.  At least six meatballs sit on the spaghetti, and the bowl is placed in front of Gran.  “I’m only going to eat one meatball”, she announces.  “Why Mom?” I ask,  “Because I hate meat,” she comes back at me.  Well, all three of our heads nearly dislocate as we peer at her disbelievingly.  I choke on my wine, and feel the angst of a hot flush (yes these attack me now too).  “Mom, why did you order spaghetti and meatballs if you hate meat?”  “Well, she says….I ate chicken for lunch, I can’t have it for dinner too!”

We have resolved that simple dishes at home will be the better option for the future.



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