Amuse bouche...

The fam­ily restau­rant

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Life - - KERRY GOLD -

“That’s hardly a de­ci­sion; that’s what they have ev­ery­where,” said Joe. “I meant you. What are you hav­ing? Cathy, re­lax, this is sup­posed to be a nice fam­ily lunch out. I thought we could share the chicken wings to start and then if I got the steak and you got the duck, we could have a taste of each?”

“Yeah, great,” said Cathy, set­ting to work on sharp­en­ing the pen­cils. There were an aw­ful lot of pur­ples, she no­ticed.

“Would you like a drink?” Joe asked. “I’ll drive.” Cathy would like three drinks, please, but she took Joe’s of­fer of one and tried to form her mouth into a re­laxed smile of ap­pre­ci­a­tion for his ef­forts.

Joe took charge of or­der­ing and Cathy got on with her par­ing of the pen­cils. It was ac­tu­ally quite sooth­ing, round and round, and a nice neat pointy pen­cil at the end. Oh God, Robin had eaten a pen­cil. Pur­ple, ob­vi­ously.

The chil­dren’s fish and chips ar­rived. Robin ate only the chips and five sa­chets of ketchup. Dy­lan ate the crispy coat­ing off the fish and left ev­ery­thing else. Dashiell left ev­ery­thing. They were fin­ished and twitch­ing by the time the chick­en­wings starter ar­rived for their par­ents. “Let’s go home now,” said Dy­lan. “That’s a lot of chicken wings,” said Joe. Only Cathy seemed to recog­nise these as con­tra­dic­tory state­ments.

Cathy fan­cied an­other drink and beck­oned the waiter, won­der­ing if it would seem odd if she asked if he had more blunt pen­cils for her, too.

SARAH CADEN

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