Baked Beans on Toast

“Is it dinner time yet?”  Miss A asks on a Sunday afternoon as I am doing the lunch dishes.
“It is 2:00 PM”, I say. “You had lunch an hour ago”.

Tremendously picky eater that she is, her question both amuses and annoys me. I wipe my hands and turn around to tell her that she is supposed to eat properly when served her meals, so that she doesn’t feel hungry an hour later. I see a flash of pink pyjamas moving around in the pantry and I stand at the pantry door watching her.

She comes out with a potato and a lone onion. “Make the Indian Hungry Jacks”, she tells me as the desolate vegetables are pushed into my hands. “I can’t make Pav Bhaji now”, I tell her, ” I need lots of others things to make Pav Bhaji and it is going to take time,so we could have it for dinner, what say”.

She nods happily and while I go to the pantry to see what else needs to be bought, I hear her opening the cutlery drawer. She has set the table and is in her seat waiting for the Pav Bhaji with her fork and spoon in her hand. “I will wait here till it is ready”, she smiles at me. “Will you be five minutes?”, she enquires politely.

I turn her towards the clock and we go through the concepts of lunch and dinner and finishing our meals on time. I end by telling her that dinner is “infinity” away. She pouts a bit, only a bit though. The large brown eyes light up in a minute.

“I need a snack”, she says. “A between lunch and dinner snack”. Before I can respond to this, she is ready with her next brainwave.

“I need baked beans on toast with Coon cheese”, she announces.
“I will get the ingredients”, she says even as I get a plate out. We like using proper terms around here.
We get some baked beans out of the cupboard and she helps me toast some bread. I pour some beans on toast for her and add some shredded cheese on top. She settles down with her snack and insists that I keep the remaining baked beans next to her so that she can see them. “The baked beans will be sad by themselves”, she explains.

While I get on with the rest of my work, she finishes her toast and rewards me with a hug, “You are the best cooker in the world, no one can make food like you, the food boss of this house”, she says as she flings herself around my waist.
I return the hug and as I am about to tell her that she should really get into the habit of eating at the right times, I stop.
There is a glorious winter sun outside and Miss A and I are in our sun dappled kitchen sharing hugs over a tin of canned baked beans and toast. She is happy and well fed and smells of warm bread. I smell of her hugs. The room smells of sunshine, of spring that is around the corner, of her childhood, of happy meals, of stolen giggles and of the simple pleasures that come from forgetting to play along with the clock.

I know that some day soon she will learn to divide her day into slots, she will learn the difference between lunch and dinner, she will probably finish her meal in a hurry to get somewhere. She will not have the time to talk to the baked beans (she does talk to them, she even names her food if she is feeling more talkative than usual) or make funny faces with the cheese singles. She will not lean back after a meal and half close her eyes and hum a tune even as she
bursts into giggles of delight because she got the words wrong. Someday, whether we like it or not, happiness will be an equation bigger than an impromptu meal in the middle of the day. But, right here and right now, we both have nowhere else to go. We have nowhere else we would rather be.

“I like golden afternoons the best”, Miss A says as we settle down to read. Me too, Miss A. Especially the ones that include little girls with brown eyes and ponytails and warm hugs. Me too!

PS: Edited to Add: If you haven’t read yesterday’s post yet, go do that now. We need to get those food lists happening 🙂

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12 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Gauri
    Aug 24, 2010 @ 19:38:50

    Miss. A is so wonderfully cute :)). And yes, I now know that I’m not the only one who talks to the potted plants, the fish in the aquarium and Timmy the Terrapin. I’ve got Miss. A for company and I shall ask for no more.

    In fact, I should take a leaf out of Miss.A’s page and try talking to those baked beans next. 🙂

    Reply

  2. Shruthi
    Aug 25, 2010 @ 03:00:08

    This is such a wonderful post.

    Reply

  3. Rajavel
    Aug 25, 2010 @ 15:49:28

    I think there is something about making a nice little meal or snack for some one and seeing them enjoy it ! A lot of people seem to like it ! Baked beans on toast is yum !

    You make me visualize your kitchen, Miss A’s after school care room etc … time and again !

    Reply

  4. scarlettletters
    Aug 26, 2010 @ 17:11:29

    Thanks Shruthi 🙂

    Rajavel – absolutely. And thank you.

    Reply

  5. IW
    Aug 26, 2010 @ 17:49:26

    >> the best cooker in the world

    This is such a lovely post 🙂 Want’s me to fast-forward my life to a stage where I would have my own adorable Ms. A/B/C/Z pottering around the house 🙂 **sigh**

    Reply

  6. Captain Nemo
    Aug 26, 2010 @ 17:57:06

    IW… just 4 are enough? 😉

    Reply

  7. IW
    Aug 26, 2010 @ 18:01:36

    CN,

    The ‘/” was meant as an OR not AND.. But yeah, I don’t mind 4 kids if someone can gurantee all of them are girls. Don’t quite fancy those pesky heartless boys.. 🙂

    Reply

  8. Rajavel
    Aug 26, 2010 @ 23:47:18

    Captn

    You didnt notice A/B/C/ and .. .Z .. I dont think he meant just 4.

    Reply

  9. scarlettletters
    Aug 27, 2010 @ 10:55:06

    Awww, IW my dear brother, I am beyond delighted to see you here 🙂
    Good luck with the fast forwarding. And talking of future life, when are you going to share more details about the soon to be Mrs IW with us? I demand to know more about my future SIL 🙂

    Carry on CN and Chets – this is like the old DSS days.

    S

    Reply

  10. IW
    Aug 30, 2010 @ 13:53:34

    >> when are you going to share more details about the soon to be Mrs IW with us?

    Mujhe sharmm aati hein 😉

    For now all that I can say is , she does full justice to the word “better half”.. make that “sweeter n better half” 🙂

    Wait until Oct 23rd (Engagement). Will post some pics then, on FB.. Nigaah rakkho.

    Reply

  11. scarlettletters
    Aug 30, 2010 @ 14:25:20

    Sharam??? You have taken us back to the genteel eras of Meena Kumari and Guru Dutt. And other such “sharam” ful souls 🙂

    I await with bated breath.

    Reply

  12. Aria
    Oct 16, 2010 @ 01:14:13

    started reading the post and got a call from sis.. she had few stories to tell about my younger niece.. she is two.. children are so endearing : )

    Reply

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