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‘Don’t Make a Scene’

September 22, 2011

When Arabella announced she had a new ‘true-love’ it raised more than my eyebrows.

‘What true-love?’ I asked.

‘His name’s Nick, mum.’

‘Never heard of him.  Have I met him?’

‘No and you’re not going to either’.

Here we go.   ‘Why won’t I be meeting him?’

‘Because he’s busy.’

‘Doing homework?’

‘Mum, he’s left school.  He’s 20.  He works for his uncle doing security.’

Sounds like a bouncer.  I’m picturing a thug.  ‘Where does he live?’

‘Newport.  He shares a flat with his cousin.’

‘Well when you’re next going to see him, get him to pop in here when he picks you up.’

‘I can’t.’

‘Why not?’

‘He doesn’t drive.  Doesn’t have a license.’

A 20-year-old male without a license.  Probably just one reason for that – the law won’t allow him one.  ‘Well tell him he’s not allowed to see you until we’ve met him’.

‘That’s why I wasn’t even going to tell you that I have a new true-love because that’s exactly how I expected you to react and I knew you’d just be unreasonable.  Don’t you trust me?’

Just pouring myself a large tumbler of wine.  ‘Arabella, I’m sure he’s lovely but you’re 16 and it’s not appropriate that you go out with someone we’ve never even met.  If you don’t think I’m on the money, go ask your child psychologist what he thinks.

‘Well if I invited him over for dinner would you cook something nice?’

‘Well it won’t be poison’.

‘Can he come Friday night?’

‘Fine.  But can he get here by six because we don’t want a late night because your father has an early start in the morning’.

And so Arabella went off to her room and behind a closed door she made a call to true-love-Nick.  Meanwhile I phoned Carl to let him know there was an unlicensed 20-year-old thug coming for dinner with eyes on our daughter.

Arabella emerged from her room looking very pleased.  ‘He says he’ll come but mum can you cook steak with béarnaise sauce because that’s what he really likes.’

And what would be wrong with mince on toast?  And that’s exactly what Carl said but I told him that I was going to whip up the meal as requested so Arabella could see how supportive and non-judgemental we were being.

Friday night was unseasonably warm so I decided we’d eat at the outdoor table on the terrace.  There were candles on the table and ironed napery, a full moon was emerging from the horizon and Carl had even jumped into the moment by chilling down some of his favourite beers.

I was whipping up the béarnaise sauce when Carl came into the kitchen and said, ‘It’s 6.15.  Where is he?  Has she heard from him?’  I said, ‘Carl, don’t make a scene.  I’ll go and ask her.’  ‘Ah Arabella, do you know what’s keeping him?’

‘He said he’s just on the bus.’

‘Whereabouts?’

‘I don’t know, somewhere between here and Newport’.

‘Well what’s his ETA?’

‘Don’t know.’

‘Let’s start with a pre-dinner drink.’

Later…’Arabella, it’s nearly seven o’clock.  Carl’s going to put the steaks on the bar-be-que and hopefully Nick will arrive before they’re cooked.’

‘Mum, I just spoke to him.  He thinks he’ll be another hour.’

‘Another hour?  You said he was on the bus nearly an hour ago.’

‘I know’, she screamed.  ‘He’ll be here when he gets here’.

And Carl was about to tell her that when you’re invited to someone’s home for a 6 o’clock dinner, that’s the time you turn up but I muttered, ‘Don’t make a scene’.

So Carl and I ate our dinner out on the terrace by the light of the full moon.  Nick never appeared and Arabella was off her oats.  When she emerged from her room with her face all streaky with mascara, Carl was going to give Arabella a serve on the economic realities of eye fillet steak but instead, helped himself to another one.

That’s when Arabella told us that Nick, (under the pressure of having to ‘meet the parents’) had said it was too difficult having a true-love who was still in school.

The relationship was done and dusted.  I tried to hide my excitement.  Arabella was a mess.  That’s when I shared with her something a friend had posted on facebook:

‘We need to teach our daughters to distinguish between:

A man who flatters her, and a man who compliments her.

A man who spends money on her, and a man who invests in her.

A man who views her as property, and a man who views her properly.

A man who lusts after her, and a man who loves her.

A man who believes he is God’s gift to women, and a man who remembers a woman was God’s gift to man.’

And Arabella sobbed.

This week I’m not sharing the meal I prepared for the ex-true-love-bouncer.  I have previously cooked béarnaise sauce and the recipe is listed under my ‘Sauces’ category.

Instead I have prepared ‘Fresh Fruit with Sweet Cream Cheese’.  This recipe is again from the cookbook RMS Titanic – Dinner is Served.  The dessert was served to first class passengers on April 14, 1912, just a few hours before tragedy would strike.  I imagine this dish would have been considered an indulgence and very extravagant given the variety of fresh fruit presented.

Degree of Difficulty:  2/5

Cost:  Inexpensive when using fruits in season

Serves:  4

Fresh Fruit with Sweet Cream Cheese

400g soft cream cheese

3 tbspns icing sugar

4 kiwi fruit, peeled and sliced

12 strawberries, hulled and sliced

12 grapes, halved (I used blueberries instead of grapes)

1 banana, peeled and sliced on a slant

Place the cream cheese and the icing sugar in a food processor and blend until smooth.  Set aside in the fridge until needed.

Prepare the fruit and place a presentation ring on a serving plate.

Alternate the fruit and cheese in layers, finishing with the cheese and a crown of any decorative fruit of your choice.

Strawberry coulis drizzled over the fruit would finish the dish off perfectly. 

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22 Comments leave one →
  1. September 23, 2011 1:20 am

    Mmmm, sweet cream cheese with fruit is delicious. I hope Arabella finds a new-true-love who is truly lovely.

  2. September 23, 2011 2:24 am

    That looks absolutely terrific.

  3. Carl permalink
    September 23, 2011 2:26 am

    That was very yummy….

  4. September 23, 2011 9:10 pm

    I am so pleased I found your site, I love your writing!

    What a lovely quote you passed on to your daughter too, I have children from 4-20 so I can relate to the whole story.

    I will need to look up the book you used for the recipe it would be absolutely fascinating!

    Gorgeous dessert!

  5. September 23, 2011 10:49 pm

    Great presentation

  6. September 24, 2011 8:22 am

    Oh dear, poor Arabella. And for him not to turn up at all is very poor form on his part. Plus he missed out on eye fillet steak!

  7. September 24, 2011 12:52 pm

    Oh! I feel almost bad that I never gave my parents the opportunity to experience this, having had no boyfriends (well, one that lasted a few months, but it wasn’t really “real”) when I lived at home. Thank heavens the thug never made it… I’m particularly galled to think that the story about the bus was likely a lie told to Arabella while he tried to think of a way out of meeting the parents! Grrrr.

  8. September 25, 2011 12:39 am

    I feel for Arabella, but am quite pleased for you, in the circumstances. Happily rid of one undesirable boyfriend with no responsibility attached to you for it – what a win! Not to mention the fact that you avoided one of those uncomfortably polite “new boyfriend” meals.
    I’ve heard of the Titanic cookbook, but not seen it yet – interesting idea, isn’t it?

  9. September 26, 2011 12:24 am

    What a wonderful post! And I love this:
    ‘We need to teach our daughters to distinguish between:
    A man who flatters her, and a man who compliments her.
    A man who spends money on her, and a man who invests in her.
    A man who views her as property, and a man who views her properly.
    A man who lusts after her, and a man who loves her.
    A man who believes he is God’s gift to women, and a man who remembers a woman was God’s gift to man.’

    So very true!!

  10. September 26, 2011 12:57 am

    Sage advice indeed.
    I have a 3 page contract for my daughters boyfriends to sign before dating. It includes sections on car matienence, handyman tips, and ettique. It also requires 3 personal references, including one from a minister or other spiritual advisor. After 6 dates, we get personal and request bank statements and health checks. These are not optional.
    She still lives at home, and hasn’t got a boyfriend yet, it’s a real mystery! She’s a lovely girl :)

    • September 26, 2011 1:20 am

      I think you need to share that contract publicly on your blog so we can all download it. Excellent idea!

  11. Cakelaw permalink
    September 26, 2011 7:17 am

    Loved this post – ah, the pain of finding “true love”.

  12. September 27, 2011 12:31 am

    Such great words from the facebook post. Hopefully when she is a little less sad, they will sink in and she will bring home a new love that the family loves too

  13. September 28, 2011 12:16 pm

    Love the words from the Facebook post. I hope Arabella has recovered.

  14. September 28, 2011 8:41 pm

    So gorgeous- both the recipe and your writing…

  15. September 30, 2011 5:31 pm

    How hard it is for our children to learn, not just for them but for us too, we want to protect them but have to let them hurt – just a little. GG

  16. October 10, 2011 9:36 am

    The poor thing. That must have been heart breaking for her.
    …I like Intolerant Chef’s contract ideas. Wise advise indeed.
    Awesome blog.

  17. October 11, 2011 8:46 pm

    The dessert looks beautiful. A dish from the Titanic being rather apt for that night for your daughter. I couldn’t help but laugh when you wrote that she was off her oats! I wish I had learned these wise words about men 20 years earlier than I did! I have had a Titanic menu cookbook for many years, I must have a look and see if it is the same one and pull it out and use it. I thoroughly enjoy your writing style. Keep it up!

  18. October 16, 2011 11:08 pm

    What a lovely story, having a daughter myself I can sure relate. Thanks for visiting my blog.!

  19. October 17, 2011 11:55 am

    Too funny! I have teen sisters about that age and they drive me insane with their antics but sadly it’s one of those life lessons we have to learn to get to where we are. We have to have our hearts broken to appreciate true love. I hope your daughter isn’t too sad about it. She’ll think back to it and think what an idiot that guy was. Thanks for visiting my blog :)

  20. October 17, 2011 10:21 pm

    Awww…. little prick is all I can say! I think you’ve done a wonderful job of ‘raising’ your husband, I’m dreading going through all that with my cherubs.

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