Yesterday I was with my wife in the Selfridges food hall. She was going to be out at a lecture, with a friend, and I had to choose something to have for supper on my own. I chose a very nice-looking tall transparent package, with the description: “Daylesford organic farm Gloucestershire: Organic Red Thai Chicken with aubergine and lemongrass: Meal for two”. It could be cooked in a saucepan for ten minutes, or in a microwave for six. And I chose a large potato to be cooked to go with it, because I am not fond of the recommended noodles. It seemed it might be a bit too much for me, and all the papers and magazines and TV programmes go on about the amount of food thrown away as being far too frequent, but I reckoned it was a risk worth taking. Later Sue typed out an explicit list of instructions for what to do and how long to do it for, and went out for her evening.
I saw my last client, and headed for the kitchen, when there was a phone call. It was Sue, who had had a horrible experience with a new regime at the car park, which made her late for the lecture, so that she could not get in, and had to return home again. When she got back I tried to comfort her, but she still felt bad. Then I had an inspiration. The meal was intended for two, and the potato was large enough for two – we could both share the meal. So this is what I did. I followed the explicit instructions, leaving Sue to recover and find a suitable TV programme. We could have the meal on the sofa, not needing to set the table.
The cooking went well, and the two plates looked full enough, and good enough, and actually quite attractive in the end. Against our usual plan for that evening, we opened a bottle of wine to go with it. We ate the meal while watching ‘Have I Got News For You’ (one of the extended versions) which we had recorded earlier. Sue said she felt much better. So what do we make of that? Was it a miracle? Was it just lucky? We thanked the Goddess anyway.

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Dr John Rowan
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