Sunday 4th December 2011
The curtains are drawn, the central heating is cranked up to high, the table is laid & the new Neil Sedaka record is playing on the hi-fi. Mum & Dad are having a dinner party. I’m 7 years old.
The heady mix of the red velet sofa & the sultry lighting made the room glow like Christmas Eve. As a kid I remember feeling incredibly safe in that environment. There is excitement is in the air & everyone is happy.
It being the 70’s, spaghetti bolognese was in heavy rotation & that dish just wouldn’t be complete without a stick of French bread, sliced & slathered in garlic butter.
French bread was pretty exotic in those days but once warmed through & ladened with melted butter & garlic, it was transformed into something that people went home talking about. We take it for granted now but back then it really was like having bananas during rationing.
Mum & Dad were the king & queen of entertaining as far as I’m concerned. Alcohol is abundant & food is plentiful. On top of that, their witty repartee never failed to get guests to come back time & time again. As a teenager my friends used to love coming to my house as Mum would ply them with treats. And being teenagers our thoughts were never far from our stomachs.
Me & my sisters never got to sample it in it’s intended state but instead feasted on the leftovers the next morning. On one particular occasion I remember sitting in the middle of the dinning room table, with my sisters, ripping off pieces of soggy garlic bread & scooping up cold bolognese all before 8.30 in the morning. I can only imagine that the liebfraumilch was flowing a little too freely that night.
The plait was crafted by my wife out of the dough I made last weekend & I turned it into garlic bread to accompany the 12 hour Rabbit Bolognese we ate in the week.