Curry in the Countryside

Unlike other places in America, Los Angeles was the hub of healthy. Friends and family would visit and feel compelled to tell me how shocked they were at how few overweight people there were there. “I thought Americans were supposed to be fat?” guest after guest would ask as another perfectly pert posterior strutted past.

With the statistics showing that a third of U.S adults are obese, I can understand their confusion.

I do remember once waiting at Minneapolis airport and being left completely gobsmacked when I saw a VERY large lady in a wheelchair with a block of cheese in one hand and a loaf of bread in the other. She wasn’t just carrying her shopping, it was in fact, her snack! Her head bobbed back and forth like she was watching center court at Wimbledon as she took a bite out of the oversized lump of American cheddar in her left hand followed by a bite of her uncut loaf in her right. It was, for lack of a better word, incredible!

But in LA people were forever ordering their food “without cheese,” with the dressing “on the side” or requesting it sans bun aka “skinny style”.  My husband, friends and I used to joke about how far it could be pushed. “Hi. Can I get (because you don’t say “please may I have” in America) the bacon, avocado beef burger. But without the bun, bacon and avocado. Also is it possible to get a veggie patty instead of a beef one? I’d also like that without the mayonnaise and tomato, and actually scrap the patty all together”. 

I honestly don’t think the waiters would bat an eyelid if I’d done it.

In England and specifically in the countryside I’ve discovered it’s probably best to just eat it as it comes.

When I asked for ‘white meat’ – a very common request in America, simply meaning breast or tikka meat – from the local curry house, I’m convinced they thought I was being racist. 

Me: “I’d like to order a Chicken Madras but with only the white meat please.”

Them: “You asked for chicken, right?”

Me: “Yes, but can I just have the white meat, please.”

Them: “Chicken is white meat”

Me: “I know that but can I have the light coloured meat, not the dark meat.”

Them: “You didn’t order lamb.”

Me: “ I realise that, I ordered chicken. But could it be the chicken like the stuff that comes in the Tikka Masala.”

Them: “The best meat is the darker meat, why don’ you like it?.”

Me: “I do, I just prefer breast meat.”

Them: “I suppose you want white rice and not brown either!”

Kudos to the man on the end of the phone, I thought his closing comment was quite witty. 

But by that point I didn’t dare ask for the bottle of white wine they were offering for free for orders over £30.

“I’ll just take an onion bhaji thanks.”

The Ex-Files

From time to time, I get my city fix. I jump on the train (see the picture of my rural station below where if you look carefully you can see “the path to town” on the right!!!) and spend two wonderfully quiet hours headed to the big smoke for work or to meet friends. I enjoy the fact it doesn’t matter if I get on the tube going in the wrong direction because I don’t have to lug two kiddies off and on the train, with the awful fear of leaving one stood on the platform!! It’s a nightmare of mine, and a reality to a family member who did just that in Singapore!  But that’s another story. Knowing I don’t know many people in this vast city and I bump past no familiar faces is kind of refreshing. But all of that went out the window last week when I bumped into possibly one of the worst people I could have…my ex-boyfriend.

‘The path to town’ apparently!!!

I’m not talking about a recent ex, I’ve been married 9 years and with my husband for 11. 

I’m talking about the ex boyfriend I had in Los Angeles before getting together with my husband.

I’m talking about the ex boyfriend who, the last I heard was living in New York.

I’m also talking about the ex boyfriend who apparently still calls me ‘The Poison Dwarf’ – I barely break the 5ft barrier, so he’s not completely wrong.

So when I was tucking into my Bakewell Tart in a cafe in Green Park, London, a place I’d NEVER been before I practically spat my Americano across the packed place in horror when I saw him walk in. 

At first I thought “it can’t be” then I thought “it could be” and when he turned round I saw  “it f***** was”. I could have done the adult thing and said hello, even just put my head down and hoped he didn’t see me. But I took the very childish route instead. I threw the remains of my cake into my oversized handbag – and yes for those who follow me on Facebook, it was the one I carried a jar of mayonnaise containing my son’s poop to hospital in – and tried to flee. 

My newly nicknamed ‘poo purse’

I could feel I wasn’t being subtle. I was making more of a scene as I tried to squeeze through the birthing canal that this too small exit route had become. My bag was whacking angry city workers and because I had my head down, I’m sure I bore a strikingly resemblance to a rugby prop (or perhaps an angry dwarf?). It all began to happen in slow motion, he was getting closer to the front of the line and I had to pass that point to make my escape. I couldn’t physically turn around and if I got any lower I’d have been crawling on the floor. So why, in that moment, I decided the only thing to do was to fake taking a phone call, I have no idea. As I burst into the fresh – if not slightly smoggy – air I realised that if he hadn’t seen me already,  he’d certainly heard me now!!  

I continued that fake phone call for the next few minutes as I power walked out of the joint at such speed I probably looked like a shoplifter. The thing is I think I’d have preferred to explain myself to an officer of the law, than make small talk with my ex, who the last time I saw actually growled at me and said: “urghh. What’s she doing here?”.

It put me on edge for the rest of the afternoon and very almost put me off my lunchtime ‘Langan’s‘ fishcakes as I kept looking over my shoulder for fear of who else I might come across.

Serves me right for escaping the countryside for the day! 

 – Oh and Mr. Ex-boyfriend, if you ever read this I’m really sorry I didn’t stop and say hi – but then again, you’re probably not.