Last week was a difficult one in general, because I was all off-kilter after missing my Monday by being in Milan. Being a day behind meant that the rest of the week felt funny; playing catch-up for All Of The Times gave me a major case of the sads, because 'Being Tired and a Bit Grumpy' wasn't on my list for any of the days and yet featured in them all.
See also: oh, boo-fucking-hoo that my weekend to the fashion capital of the world upset my self-made schedule for 5 days. OH THE TRAUMA.
Anyway, my landlady was away last week too, and so as it was my turn to host the weekly Girls Night I have inadvertently become part of- sorority life having never been my thing- I played hostess for a dinner at home after work, even though my wet dream for the week boiled down to one thing and one thing only: sleep.
And a meal salad. I'm really into meal salads right now. But I prefer it when somebody else makes it for me.
It was just supposed to be a casual girly supper for three, actually a most pleasurable endeavour, but then a colleague got some bad news so I invited him over too. Then to balance out the girl-boy numbers my friend's boyfriend came- and I learnt that cooking for five is not cooking for one.
When we'd walked into the apartment my friend said to me, “Ewwww. It smells like garbage in here.” This was worrying for two reasons: one, I could not smell said garbage. If it was so repulsive, what other disgusting smells was I blissfully unaware of day-to-day and OHMYGOD what if I smelt and everyone was talking about me behind my back or WORSE those silent and odourless farts I sometimes do on the stairs at work- what if they actually stank to everybody but me?
Two: I am under strict instruction to keep the apartment pristine in the owner's absence. Fuck.
We poured beer and chatted and waited for the boys to show up, all the while with my girlfriend occasionally saying, “I still smell it.” So then all the windows were opened and scented candles lit, and by the time it got to 10 p.m. my other girlfriend said, “So. Urm. Should we like, start cooking now?” and I realised my guests were starving and because 10 p.m. is a normal supper time for me I was fine, but they were on floor famished.
“GOD! I'm so sorry!” I cried, and started to pull ingredients out of the cupboard.
We were just having pasta- lightly tossed in pesto, with cheery tomatoes. Light, fun, simple. Of course the boys were a bit like, “Just pasta?” because NOTE TO SELF men like meat, but as a vegetarian the thought that it wasn't balanced enough never even occurred to me.
As I threw in the pasta to the pot my friend asked if there was anything she could do, and since I can pretty much boil water unaccompanied I told her if she wanted to hunt out where the smell was coming from she could be my guest.
I often call my friend Rainman, because she has a sort of autistic dedication and literal translation of any task at hand. So she got right to it, taking out the (empty) trash and rifling through the fridge.
“What's this?” she asked, holding up a tub of sliced cooked mushrooms that my landlady had left behind before she went away for the week.
“They're my landlady's,” I said. “I don't really like to touch her stuff in case I get into trouble.” Then in slow motion my friend removed the corner of lid, screamed “OHMYGOD IT IS LIKE WET DIRTY DIAPERS UP IN HERE!” and then we all nearly died from the grossness of those stinking mushrooms which was overpowering in a way I have no words for, only a repeated gagging sound that goes something like this:
The boys arrived just as I was removing dirty baby diaper smell from the apartment, to a freezing room with all the windows open and pasta that had been boiling for too long and was at best soggy, and at worst almost inedible.
There wasn't enough limp pasta for a suitable portion each, because I don't ever make pasta for five people so I didn't know how much to use. Evidently, not enough. And yet when I cook for just myself it is always too much. So we all had a first course of pasta with pesto and cherry tomatoes, and then I boiled up some more water to make the second course: pasta with pesto and cherry tomatoes.
The thing is, I didn't have enough pesto left over from the fancy stuff I had bought, so I used up the pesto that had been opened in the fridge for... well. I don't exactly know.
As I was mixing up the old pesto into the newly boiled pasta somebody said, “Oh. I thought this was Parmesan, I didn't realise it was actually blue cheese,” to which I replied, “It isn't,” and then everybody understood that we had accompanied our insufficient pasta portions with mouldy cheese.
And THEN the second course was worse than the first because in addition to the mouldy cheese we now had old pesto that tasted like vinegar and basically, by midnight, I essentially just had to say, YES. JUST GO. LET'S PRETEND THIS NEVER HAPPENED.
For our next girls night, we're going to a restaurant.