Have just about recovered from my ‘educational’ trip to Abu Dhabi, if nothing else the experience has made me appreciate Dubai a little more than before we set-off. phew that really is saying something. Fancy, having to endure that pantomime to find myself actually uttering those words.
Now safely back in Dubai it’s so very hard to imagine that just across those sand dunes lies Abu Dhabi, a small desert kingdom that really does seem a world away from anywhere.
I now had renewed vigor and as Mike had suggested we should brave it and give our first dinner party I readily agreed, having survived that monumental drive across the desert was up for anything, well almost!
Compared to the last few tortuous days this should be a walk in the park – I was in for a bit of a surprise!!! This new life of mine was turning into a veritable assault course, there were obstacles to be negotiated around every corner, surely there must be some sort of medal ceremony to look forward too, when and where, that’s what I want to know!
Mike suggested that it would, perhaps, be kindly to invite two ‘summer bachelors’, whom he had met through business for dinner, this didn’t sound too onerous, in fact, a dummy run for parties to come, what a splendid idea.
A date was set and I began organizing a menu but trying to locate even basic ingredients in those far off days could be like looking for a needle in a haystack, actually that task might have been somewhat easier.
My fears were soon confirmed; Ali did not possess any finer culinary skills but thought he knew it all, who was I to disagree. Between us we set the table with my finest purchases from London, their first appearance ‘on the ‘stage’, it really was quite exciting.
Ali assured me that he had everything under control and if I was going to be the perfect ‘Mem’ I had to be relaxed about the whole situation, oh dear, it soon became very clear that I was going to regret that decision.
Our guests duly arrived and it soon transpired that neither of them were a bundle of fun, in fact, they hardly spoke a word, the only thing Mike could think of doing to rectify this situation was to ask Ali to make the drinks stronger and stronger in the hope that these two would become a little more garrulous. Ali was struggling in the kitchen and I was on the verge of extreme hysteria, when one of these learned gentlemen fell through his chair, it had collapsed, not him I hasten to add.
Mike and I nearly died of fright at this spectacle, one collapsed chair and one guest sprawled over the floor – Should I run for it, find the smelling sorts or grab yet another stiff Gin!!!!
Dinner pronto, I thought bad move, this was to be Ali’s moment of culinary glory, in fact his finest hour, so what did he do? Our first course was fish of some description with tartar sauce which he assured me was a doddle to make.
Once our guests had been seated we waited for Ali’s appearance, in retrospect, it was to be like a game of charades unfolding before our eyes as suddenly, without any preamble, he charged through the swinging door, shrouded in a gigantic white apron, shoeless and carrying an enormous tray which he proceeded to plonk on the floor and serve dinner from there.
What was I to do, actually it was somewhat late to do anything except watch in horror as this cameo unfolded and silently wish I was sitting at somebody else’s dinner table. The fish looked passable but the tartar sauce somewhat strange, it transpired that it had been made with just flour, cold water and I think for good measure a large slug of vinegar, it’s a wonder we didn’t all choke to death.
At this stage I was still trying to act like a proper ‘Mem’ and pretend everything was fine and all these antics were quite normal in our household, even in their inebriated state these two chaps must have thought Mike and I were ten parts barmy!!!!
On reflection we were fortunate that our guests had consumed so much whiskey that I don’t think they had a clue as to what they were eating or drinking but at least they were talking!! The rest of the meal was passable but I think we all retired with monumental indigestion and me with a very red face!!!
I really wasn’t too sure after that episode if I would or could ever redeem myself or be able to transform Ali into any sort of cook at all. Afterwards he told me that he was very adept at cooking ‘mutton grabs’ whole sheep on a spit, a specialty of the locals, now that would have been fine if we had been living in a Bedouin tent in the middle of the desert.
Somehow between us we had to up our game. But how!!! It took a while to recover from this episode but yes it was another learning curve, and obviously trying to school Ali into becoming a passable Cordon Bleu Star was going to be a near impossibility – a distant dream. It definitely would be a challenge, one I don’t think either of us was up too at that moment in time!! Although ,I think I might just take time out and show him how to make Tartar Sauce!!
So that was another hurdle over, this experience has been somewhat akin to being entered for the Derby but actually only being fit for the Donkey Derby and I think even a three legged donkey would have overtaken us.
What a dismal performance, three out of ten must try harder!!! Think for the foreseeable future will stick to accepting invitations not giving them and maybe check out the local takeaways!!!
I hope you have enjoyed reading this latest Essay – Please be reminded that I would love to hear from you all – My camp followers.
Essay l2 will be published Tuesday l7 June