07 January 2011

Dies Irae

There’s something about ‘Women’s Little Christmas’ that gives me the creeps. Maybe it’s the fact that by acknowledging such a thing exists, you are admitting that ‘Christmas’ is not for women. Perhaps it’s the ridiculous and out-dated notion that a woman’s role is to spend the holiday season working so that it can be enjoyed by their husbands and families. It could be the sneaking suspicion that for many people this is still a reality no matter how we might pretend that it’s a quaint throwback to a different era. Or it just might be the fact that I am a stranger to kitchens - the idea that I should get a second (albeit lesser) holiday to make up for all the apron-wearing I did during the real one, seems a little bit bizarre.

So I was not too impressed when the boss in our company sent out an email saying that in honour of this, breakfast in the canteen would be free ‘for the ladies’. Those lazy layabout men-folk sure paid for their slobbish behaviour that day. Literally, while their female colleagues piled their plates high. I got on my moral high horse and made some more inroads into my trusty box of Special K. Did I do it out of solidarity with my male colleagues? Was it part of my ongoing grudge with the caterers? Nah, I was just getting in touch with my inner bra-burner.

New Culinary Me is still going strong though. I made pasta the night before with just enough left over for lunch. Glad that the whole breakfast incident was behind me, I cheerfully popped it in the microwave. Being quite hungry at this stage, I watched and waited while my lovely penne with roasted vegetable sauce warmed up. I even predicted when it would go ‘ding!’ and with a swift and graceful flick of my wrist I popped the microwave door open at that exact moment. The idea was for the door to be flung open with a flourish, allowing the herby tomatoey goodness to waft out.

No door opened. Instead there was a clicking sound that accompanied the joyful ‘ding’. It was that tight little clack of a mechanism saying ‘Nope.’. I had thought the opening of the door could be a collaborative effort between me and the microwave. Instead I had entered into a competitive situation from which there could be no winners.

Hoping vainly that there might be some knack, I asked the canteen staff for help. Once I received my shrug and and “I don’t know” response, I swooped over to the cutlery drawer in a gleeful rage and snatched a knife in my fist. Before long the microwave was unplugged and I was going at the edges of the door as if it were a tin of paint. Weak with hunger, I lacked the strength to force it but I enlisted the help of some colleagues and we found a swarthy hero to prise the door open by brute strength. The lock shattered and a little piece of it fell to the floor. My lunch was rescued! I delightedly seized my prize and ran off to devour it. For some reason it was more delicious than ever. Maybe it was the delayed gratification of eating it, or it could have been the satisfaction of having cooked it myself – or was it the excitement of smashing something open and destroying it? Yeah, I was just getting in touch with my inner bunny-boiler.

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