The older I get, the more I appreciate appliances. I looooooove appliances. My pale pink Kitchen-Aid mixer is the pride and joy of my kitchen, and woe betide anyone who splatters it with spaghetti sauce (I’m looking at you, husband). Last year I got a chest freezer, which made me happier than I could say. It’s not the model that’s big enough to hide a body in, but it is big enough to store a fair number of half-finished loaves of bread, about-to-expire yoghurts, and plastic containers of “Is this pasta sauce or red curry? Oh, crap, actually it’s pureed pumpkin” (true story).
Until recently it was also the repository for about 10 packs of crumpets. You see, we had an overseas visitor who looooooooved crumpets almost as much as I love appliances. Said visitor comes from a country which doesn’t have ready-made crumpets (I KNOW, I can’t believe it either), and one of her goals was to take a whole bunch of packs back home with her. So the morning she left, we stopped by the supermarket by the airport and she bought 10 packs and then stuffed them into her carry-on.
We got to the airport, checked in, I waved her off, and was about to head to my car when suddenly, I heard my name on the announcement thingie. My name! Being called at the airport! And it wasn’t “So-and-so, please report to gate 15 immediately. Your flight is ready to depart and all of the other passengers are waiting for you” (side note: Kudos to whomever came up with that wording, because I feel vicarious shame for the person whose name is being called every time I hear it). No, it was “Please report to the luggage drop area.”
Mystified yet feeling vaguely like a celebrity, I reported to the luggage drop area… And found my overseas visitor, whose carry-on was apparently overweight. As she’d already checked her luggage, she now needed to dump some weight from her carry-on, and the alternatives for disposal of her surplus items were the bin or me. In one hand she hefted a supermarket bag of crumpets; in the other hand, five blocks of chocolate. No surprise what she chose to keep.
What does one do with 10 packs of crumpets? The obvious answer is “Toast, butter, and eat”, but two packs later, everyone in my house was sick of crumpets. So I started to, ahem, “gift them”. I left a pack at in the kitchen at work, a pack on a friend’s dining room table, a pack in the neighbour’s letterbox… But there were still five packs left.
Eventually my kids ate them, one at a time, from the freezer. Those five remaining packs of crumpets lasted about three months. That freezer earned its keep.
I was talking to our visitor the other day on Skype, and she mentioned that she’s thinking of coming back next year. “I miss crumpets,” she sighed.
I better clear out the freezer.
What I’m reading this week:
The Ballroom, by Anna Hope (Doubleday $37).
This intriguing novel is about a woman and a man who are both patients – I should probably say prisoners – at a mental institution in 1911. Part of the “therapy” includes a weekly dance in the asylum’s grand ballroom, but attendance is a privilege not everyone is allowed. The doctor who oversees these dances has some pretty disturbing ideas about how mental illness should be treated, and when his gaze falls on these two particular patients, things start to unravel. The biggest question is always, “Who’s really the crazy one?” and the author captures the sometimes fine line between madness and sanity on which we’ve all tread at times. Thoughtful and thought-provoking – at different times I identified with the struggles of all of the characters, which I think might be the point.
Enjoy your week.