My boyfriend and I have now been cohabiting for three months, and it’s been an exciting voyage of discoveries.
Deciding whether or not I actually care when he leaves the loo seat up (I don’t, as it currently stands); finding out the delightful ways in which our separate tastes in décor can be merged (“how about we put the copies of Modern Railway magazine UNDER the patchwork throw?”); and gently introducing my beloved to the quantities of blonde hair I shed over every surface, for which conventional hoovering poses no match at all.
Then there is the cooking. Before we moved in together, he had five signature dishes: a stir-fry, a curry, a chilli, a sausage pasta and a very good cheese on toast. This was his well-balanced arsenal, the carb and veg and protein that saw him through lonely evenings and special occasions alike.
I wouldn’t call him a fussy eater, because to me that is an insult of the very foulest order - I would rather sit next to a flatulent camel than the type of person who won’t eat a crisp until you tell them what flavour it is - but it’s true that he doesn’t see food in the same way I do.
I see every morsel as a party of happy flavours, shouting “eat me! Have seconds! I AM YOUR BEST FRIEND”, whereas he sees it as a mixed gathering of intimidating strangers, where it’s best to stay in the kitchen with the people you know who definitely aren’t awful. (Incidentally we have the exact opposite approach to real parties).
Thinking that living together was the perfect opportunity to broaden these horizons, I began by teaching him to make lasagne. Actually that’s as far as I’ve got, because on lasagne he has stuck – possibly quite literally, there’s a lot of béchamel and melted Cathedral City involved. I think I have eaten more lasagne during the last two months than in the rest of my life put together.
Make no mistake, they are very good lasagnes. But they are also very big, which means leftovers, and so we are often eating double or occasionally triple lasagne over the course of two days – which is an awful lot of minced beef and refined starch for even the steeliest stomach to take.
There are lasagnes everywhere. I am seeing them in my dreams; considering them for regrouting the bathroom tiles. He’s like the Dolmio dad, except Scottish and not made of felt.
“We’ve got whojummy and whatsit coming to dinner,” I’ll say. “Shall I do something lovely and light made of vegetables?”
“No,” he says, his eyes lighting up. “I’ll do my lasagne.” And out comes the pasta and the passata and the Gaviscon.
The loo seat I can cope with, Modern Railways magazine I can tolerate. But if cohabiting drives me to vegetarianism, there are going to need to be some serious changes.