True, Or False?

One

I am cold. The autumn cool clamours beneath my skin, and I cannot get warm. I go into the living room, put on the fire, and pull a blanket over me, cuddling into myself for warmth, but I am simply placing cold on cold, entwining one chill arm with another. I feel the heat on my torso, where it is in the direct line of the fire, and closing my eyes, sink into nothingness. Bubbling up from this void come sense perceptions from other cold seasons. The smell of garlic and celery, the sounds of gas hissing and water simmering on the stove. I am moved from my recline and take myself into the kitchen. After a summer of salads and freshly chopped vegetables, the wintry weather has seen my diet disintegrate into stodgy rye bread, omelettes, rice, baked potatoes. I feel loss. Loss for the flavours and colours, and variety I am no longer enjoying. My body feels less vital. I have not yet found my winter cooking mojo.

In the kitchen, I reach into the cupboard for brown onions, and a single large potato. I take down the heavy blue saucepan from the cupboard above the cooker and place it on the stove top. A couple of glugs of olive oil, the gas lit, I chop the onions, finely. They go in the pan. In the fridge I find carrots, celery and a courgette that must be used today. Putting my weight behind the knife, I chop, relishing the neatness and order of the tiny squares. I slide the pieces into the pan, and there is a delicate hiss as they meet the oil. A clove of garlic, two tins: one of chopped tomatoes, one of mixed beans. I stir, and the semblance of a soup forms. Adding filtered water and a few teaspoons of bouillon, the creation is complete bar two fundamentals: heat and time.

Mark sends me a message: ‘I have a call at 2. We could chat after?’

Tempted, I decline, ‘I need to focus on this piece. Maybe tonight?’

Writing while I am cooking, I decide the two work deliciously together. The warmth and balm of the soup segues into my words; the pattering of fingers on keyboard keeps me occupied as ingredients alchemise into sustenance. Soup.

Two

Friends are coming for supper.

I met Jim and Becky twenty odd years ago on a wild sailing trip where we were de-masted and rescued by the lifeboat just off Newhaven. It has been years since we have seen each other, friendship interrupted by children, work, and more recently, Covid. I am making a light supper: a bean soup with home- baked bread with rye flour. The bread, proving in the airing cupboard, emits its wholesome yeasty breath and I start preparing the soup, a recipe carried by my great grandmother from the nineteenth century to the twentieth, Lithuania to London, and now to my kitchen in Hertfordshire in the twenty-first.

In the kitchen, I reach into the cupboard for brown onions, and a single large potato. I take down the heavy blue saucepan from the cupboard above the cooker and place it on the stove top. A couple of glugs of olive oil, the gas lit, I chop the onions, finely. They go in the pan. In the fridge I find carrots, celery and a courgette that must be used today. Putting my weight behind the knife, I chop, relishing the neatness and order of the tiny squares. I slide the pieces into the pan, and there is a delicate hiss as they meet the oil. A clove of garlic, two tins: one of chopped tomatoes, one of mixed beans. I stir, and the semblance of a soup forms. Adding filtered water and a few teaspoons of bouillon, the creation is complete bar two fundamentals: heat and time.

The doorbell twinkles an electronic version of Beethoven’s fifth. Not my choice, I live in a rental house, but it does mean I open the door with a balletic breeze. Cool air surges in through the front door first, followed by Becky, ‘Oh my god, so lovely to see you. You haven’t changed a bit.’ And Jim, who draws me in with a friendly roar and squeezes me tight, his long beard tangling in my hair.

‘Something smells good!’ He is rubbing his tummy. The years have given it time to expand. Coats off, they hang on the banister, and we move through to the kitchen.

‘Wine?’

‘Yes please,’ the stereo response. Glasses clink, red wine pours and we all settle around the kitchen table to reminisce.

Wine and food, food and friends. How good to be together again!

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ORACLE. MYSTIC. SEER. Pragmatic mystic, mother & mentor. https://linktr.ee/Magic.Seer

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Caroline Murray

Caroline Murray

ORACLE. MYSTIC. SEER. Pragmatic mystic, mother & mentor. https://linktr.ee/Magic.Seer

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