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Saturday Lunch

As I’ve mentioned plenty of times before, Chris used to do all the cooking. But while he was happy to cook dinner every evening, he flatly refused to cook Saturday lunch. He wasn’t keen on making Sunday lunch either, but that was usually left-overs from Saturday dinner so was less of an issue. But no way would he cook Saturday lunch.

So, right from when we first started going out, 21 years ago, we always ate out for Saturday lunchtime. One of us had to be very seriously ill for us to eat at home – a raging migraine with projectile vomiting would just about count as an excuse, but dying of cancer didn’t. Even when Chris was very sick last year, he insisted on going out for Saturday lunch as usual – the only exceptions being when he was in the middle week of his chemotherapy cycle and his immune system was heavily compromised, when he would grudgingly agree that it was safer to stay at home.

Before we got married, when money was very tight, we would regularly have a jacket potato, side-salad and soft drink at a cafe above the bus station in Worcester. Slightly more salubrious than it sounds, but not much! Or even a snack in the cafe at the big Worcester Tesco supermarket. Or a frugal lunch at the shabby-but-genteel Bluebird Tea Rooms. Over the years we had a range of favourite cafes / restaurants / pubs which came and went out of favour as the chefs moved on, or our circumstances and tastes changed. I remember the Lemon Tree in Worcester, Ceci Paolo and the Feathers in Ledbury, the Anchor at Welland, the Fig Tree in Malvern and most recently the Plough and Harrow at Guarlford. However, although we ate out once a week, we hardly ever did so in the evenings, sticking with the more limited (but generally much cheaper!) lunchtime menus.

Christopher’s absolute favourite restaurant was a place called White Season, in the centre of Malvern. We ate there virtually every Saturday lunchtime for a few years – we were there so often it almost became embarrassing!  In fact, Kevin the chef automatically booked us “our table” for 12:30 each Saturday unless we explicitly told him we wouldn’t be coming in the next week! I remember one time Chris getting rather annoyed when they changed the sugar that came with the coffee from demerara sugar cubes to fancy unrefined sugar crystals.  He didn’t actually take sugar in his coffee, but liked to dunk a sugar cube in it and eat it as a sweet – which he couldn’t do with sugar crystals. From the following week, a special bowl of sugar cubes was kept at the back of the restaurant and produced specially for him! We really enjoyed it there, and were really sorry when it closed down several years ago. Right to the end, Chris was wont to say how much he still missed Kevin’s cooking.

All that Saturday lunch tradition has stopped now of course. I really don’t like eating out on my own, and particularly not in places we used to enjoy going to together. So now I have to get my own Saturday lunch. But there is a problem. For twenty years I’ve got into a very strong habit of always eating out, so not having to think about it when we did the shopping. So now, even ten months after Chris died,  I still have a huge mental block about remembering to get food in for it. And I’ve been sleeping so badly for the past year that there is no way I’m going to get up and go shopping on a Saturday morning in time to get home and start cooking. Time and again, it’s got to around noon on a Saturday, and I’ve realised that I’ve got no food in, so I’ve had to rummage around in the larder and the bottom of the fridge to find a collection of leftovers that I can put on a plate / in the frying pan / under the grill and call lunch. I’m certainly getting plenty of practice at “scratch meals” – cheese on toast, cheese omelette, egg-bread, baked cheesy egg with toast soldiers – basically any permutation of cheese, eggs and bread, all of which I usually have in.

I really need to train myself to think about it in advance and get some nice – but easy – food in. I can really see Christopher’s point – cooking Saturday lunch is a right pain. But I’m sure I can do better than cheese-on-toast if I put my mind to it!

{ 2 } Comments

  1. David A | 25 June 2011 at 11:32 pm | Permalink

    I also remember White Season fondly (monkfish followed by ‘jellies for grown-ups’ or strawberry soup), though unfortunately we only really discovered it shortly before it closed. 8-(

  2. Gillian | 26 June 2011 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    Oooooh, that strawberry soup was absolutely delicious! I remember the first time we came across it we shared a bowl between us, and it was so good that as soon as we finished it we asked for another bowl each! Christopher even licked the bowl clean……..