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Please feel free to take a moment and look through my most recent posts, realise what a terrible mistake you made, and reconsider your process for following food bloggers.
Last weekend, when Steve stayed at Casa De Fuiru, he brought a purple box with him.
"This is for you," he said, presenting it to my wife and I. "It’s a Monica’s grape pie. Monica’s does the best grape pies." Then, barely audibly, he muttered under his breath: "And lo with this blessing, thee I also do curse."
Steve then went on to tell us that since he tried these pies for the first time, he has literally thought about them every day.
I watched him as he said this. His eyes looked into the distance, and for a second I no longer saw Steve. Instead, I saw a sailor, clinging to a raft in the middle of the ocean, his eyes scouring the horizon for blessed relief, knowing that with each rise and fall of the sun there may never be an end to his torment.
I saw the man who, as a child, watched Aphrodite bathe, and who lived his life knowing he would never again see this epitome of beauty (unless he drove 45 minutes away, to Naples, NY, and bought one (I was starting to see Steve again at this point)).
Tonight, Mrs Fuiru and I tried the pie. And lo, with that blessing, we are now also cursed.
Monica’s grape pie is like someone melted down a candy store and placed it inside a pastry crust.
It’s like having a party in your mouth that’s fully catered, with none of the premium liquors running out by midnight and the next day someone else cleans and tidies your house.
After tonight, if I were to ever write an erotic novel, it would be about an innocent young man who is seduced by a wanton grape pie that makes him do all sorts of pervy things, most of which involve putting spoonfuls of the pie in his mouth, slowly. The eighth chapter would consist of nothing but groans, while chapter sixteen would be banned in Hungary. The cover would be a black and white photograph of a plate with pastry crumbs on it.
Since eating a piece of this pie, I have become illogically and obsessively jealous of the foil dish it came in, because that goddammed foil dish has been able to cup the joyous grape pie against its bosom for several weeks. If I could be reincarnated as an inanimate object, it would a foil pie dish with a Monica’s grape pie in it.
After eating her first mouthful of this pie, my wife said, in a halting and disbelieving fashion: “I don’t really understand what’s happening in my mouth right now.” Before either of us could eat any more, we embraced for several seconds.
Steve, if you’re reading this, I wish to thank you. Thank you for sharing your curse with us. Our lives will never be the same again.
One thing I’ve come to learn about pregnancy is that there is a tendency for information resources to express your unborn baby’s size in terms of comparable fruit. Six weeks ago our child was the size of a grape. Three weeks ago, a lime. Last week, a lemon. Right now apparently my wife is carrying an apple inside her. The only reprieve from all this fruit was when, between the sizes of a lime and a lemon, our baby was “about as big as a medium shrimp.”
Thankfully for the less culinary-minded among us, many of these sites link to pictures of the foodstuffs we are now trying to measure in our head. Just in case we are becoming overly obsessed with whether my wife’s womb is currently harboring a Cox’s Orange Pippin, a Washed Russet or - God forbid! - a Nonnetit Bastard, there it is, removing all doubt: A Honeycrisp. Goodness.
I never really thought about measurement in this way before. Normally, if something is below a certain size, it’s enough to express it in inches, centimetres, feet or metres. You don’t usually go for the comparable objects unless you’ve got something above a certain size. Being British, I’m used to being told that something is “about the size of three double-decker buses” or has the area of “twelve football pitches.” I’m sure other nations have their own standards of comparative measurement; Giant Buddha Statues in the Temple of Nara, for example, or Donnie Wahlburgs.
The problem I have now is that preparing meals is becoming rather a traumatic experience. It’s fine and dandy to tell me that my offspring is currently the size of a lime, but try taking that image out of my head when it comes time to garnish the Pad Thai for dinner. Standing over the cutting board, knife in hand, small green fruit in front of me, I look like Brad Pitt at the end of Se7en when Morgan Freeman’s trying to talk him out of shooting Kevin Spacey. Do I really enjoy citrus fruit enough to cut what is essentially my own child into segments?
God help me if I’m asked to help with a fruit salad any time soon. I’ll probably start rocking back and forth in the foetal position on the kitchen floor, gibbering to myself and sobbing.
In a way, though, I remain curious each week as to what size my baby will be. It’s less out of interest in the development of my child, and more about what food he/she will now resemble. Will they ever be the size of a pomelo? Durian? Would the makers of the sites ever suggest that my child resembles an Ugli fruit? Would they dare? And should there ever be another week with no fruit for suitable comparable size, will they go back to the crustacean route? Will my baby ever be a langoustine?
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