How can a man of fifty-five still be excited by birthdays? The tension has been rising for about three weeks. What would he get for his birthday? Was it going to be a surprise or would I like some ideas?
Believe me I have ideas!
I smash the margarine onto the sugar with feeling and batter it until it loses its shape. I chuck in the flour and eggs and whiz them with my two month old birthday present; a high quality food churner or whatever it’s called. After thirty five years my other half has apparently not cottoned on to the fact that I hate cooking.
The pure creamy mixture is ready. Now, what flavour to impress him with, for have I mentioned, I mean to impress. A slurp of vanilla essence, a tinge of coffee granules, perhaps a bit of seasoning, I think, as I grind pepper and garlic into the large mixing bowl. I add three spoonfuls of curry powder and some almond flavouring and carefully place my little treasure in the oven. The aroma is rather powerful so I open the back door.
I decorate my handiwork with thick sweet icing and a zest of lemon and in true traditional style I cram 56 birthday candles onto the, what now is a crowded, surface.
“I’m home munchkins. Where’s the pressie?” his voice rings in a happy tone.
“I’ve baked you a special treat. When you’ve had a cuppa and a taste, then you get your present.” I smile a little smile.
He cuts a huge slice to match his growing waist line.
“What a taste!” With a smack of his lips he says with relish, “I could eat it all. That’s the best I’ve ever tasted. What a wife!”
I watch unbelieving as he licks his fingers and presses them to his plate. I watch him savour every last crumb. He still doesn’t know how I hate cooking. Then I remember his present and smile. I reach behind the sofa and bring out his present. His bulgy little eyes light up with greed and he rips off the paper of the carefully wrapped parcel, to reveal Delia’s “How to Cook” books one and two.