Making a shopping list I’m planning pizza night at home in an attempt to try and make life a little less mundane for the adult children who I imagine are having a tougher time dealing with lockdown than I am, someone who makes Howard Hughes appear outgoing.
ME. “Alexa, add nduja to the shopping list.”
ALEXA. “I have added India to your shopping list.”
My daughter laughs,
“I don’t think we’ve got any bags big enough to get that home.”
“How are you coping with lockdown?” I ask her, wondering if I’m missing something I ought to be seeing.
“I’m fine,” she says, but nothing more.
I appear to have developed a seemingly endless interest in things that can be enjoyed at home or with nothing more than a pair of wellington boots and the company of a dog and much of this, I have concluded, came from my parents.
My love of cooking and pottering about in the kitchen, for example, is probably down to my mother’s refusal to allow me to cook.
“You make too much mess,” she’d tell me, but I think she just needed to be in control.
My desire became like a pressure cooker building up over the years until I had a place of my own since which I have rarely stepped out of the kitchen other than to sit down and eat something that I have just finished making in the kitchen.
In a particularly painful argument with my wife some years ago she said to me,
“There’s more to running a house than making dinner.”
I was so bruised by the encounter that I had to console myself by making up a batch of chocolate chip and hazelnut cookies.
My father’s contribution was books.
An avid reader he would happily sit for hours with a book and when he wasn’t doing that, he would mostly be walking to and from the library to get some more books.
A love of reading has kept me going too because losing yourself in someone else’s imagination is a wonderful place to be when there’s not much happening in your own.
My daughter is helping me make the pizzas like she has since she was a child.
She shapes the dough into rough rounds and throws them into the blistering cast iron pans.
I spoon on tomato sauce and we add the toppings.
“Do you find doing this sort of thing helps you cope with lockdown?” I ask her.
“Not especially, but I know that you enjoy it,” she says, tossing a scrap of mozzarella into the dogs dribbling mouth.