It was that tiny fishbone that did it. After all the pre-preparation, then the preparation, surely nothing could go wrong. I pored over recipes online for hours hoping to get some inspiration. Finally, I found a fish curry that seemed simple enough. Jim was partial to fish and curry. By combining the two I was onto a winner for sure.
The cooking demonstration
I met Jim at a cooking demonstration. An annual food and wine festival to be exact. The place was packed. My bunions were killing me. The pain was making me feel dizzy. .Or was it the wine? A seat would fix everything. I limped towards the outdoor stage and was prepared to sit through a cooking demonstration for a seat. There was one seat left in the front row. I squeezed in between two dudes. One young. The other old. After a few minutes the younger of the two turned to me. ‘Do you like salmon?’ “Uh?” That’s when it occurred to me that the cooking demonstration was about salmon. Before I had time to respond, the whingy older one stretched over in front of me and interjected, ‘Can we go now?’ With that, a business card was discreetly slipped into my hand and off they went.
The exotic meals
Jim invited me to his place quite a bit after that. We never had a meal alone because his old uncle Archie was an inmate there and in desperate need of a sedative. However, Jim was an expert in the kitchen. He always cooked exotic meals. He never used anything from a can, a packet or the freezer. His rice was never lumpy or gluggy. He didn’t even use a recipe book. And his plates were always sparkling clean. ‘How about we come to your place for a feed. That’d be a change?’ Uncle Archie said tersely one evening. “Fair enough’, my external voice said.
When Jim arrived with a bottle of wine and Uncle Archie in tow, I knew immediately the night was going to be a fiasco. I needed wine. Immediately. Jim twisted the top off the bottle and poured three glasses. They were sent off to the lounge room with the wine and some cheese. Everything was under control in the kitchen until the plating stage. The cast iron pot was filled to the brim with fish curry. I dished out the rice. After dishing out the curry I noticed a tiny bone poking out of a piece of fish. Juggling the pot in my left hand on the very edge of the bench I attempted to pull out the bone with my right hand.
As the hulking great pot hit the floor the hot curry splashed all over my clothes.
“Everything all right out there?”
“Of course’ I lied. “Won’t be long”.
The floor was covered in fish curry. I panicked. I used my bare hands to scoop up the mess. My hands were burning. Steam was coming off the floor, out of the bin and off my skin.