Monthly Archives: August 2008

The dinner

Well as I am at home during the day nowadays, I occasionally cook dinner. A couple of weeks ago I made a spaghetti bolognese, but my wife decided it was lacking a little something, and I had not cooked it long enough. “Next time I’ll leave some instructions,” she said.

So yesterday morning she decided I was cooking spaghetti bolognese for dinner. She left a recipe book open with a post-it note containing some additional instructions, before going to work. Strict instructions were also left that the bolognese sauce had to be simmered for TWO hours instead of my usual one-hour cooking.

So at around 5 pm I had a look at the recipe book. Fairly straightforward list of ingredients, including carrots and celery (neither of which I used last time). On the post-it note she had written “chop into small pieces”. Other ingredients required were a cup of stock, and a cup of wine. Glancing around the kitchen, I noticed a wine bottle on the counter which had not been there the day before. Obviously that must be the wine I am to use in the recipe.

So I cut the onions, carrots and celery, brown the mince, add the vegetables and stock, add some worcester sauce (recipe didn’t say so but I like it), tomato paste, paprika (again not in the recipe), and some salt and pepper. Now at this stage I normally add a tin of tomatoes as well, but double-checking the recipe for this revealed that there was no mention of it. Fair enough, no tomatoes. I take the cork out of the wine bottle and pour what is left of the contents into the saucepan. The recipe calls for the bolognese to be simmered uncovered for 1 1/2 hours. I turn the heat down and leave it.

Soon after 6 pm my wife gets home and goes into the kitchen. She comes out again and I know I’m in trouble.

“Why didn’t you grate the carrots?” she asked.
“Well, your note said to chop them into small pieces.”
“I meant for you to grate them.”


“And another thing, there isn’t much liquid left in the saucepan. Did you put any wine in it?”

“Yes,” I reply. “That bottle you left on the counter.”

An icy silence followed.

“I didn’t leave any wine on the counter.”
“Yes you did, that bottle there.”(pointing)
“That was my mother’s home-made peach aperitif!”


Oh well, the bolognese sauce was certainly tasty.