My house smells of gravy.
Aimée is cooking. The scent is actually more of a combination of meat juice, hot fart and sweat. A large pan is bubbling away, brown and thickly, in the bowels of the oven. Its bubbles burst, acne-like, all over the blackened inner walls of the much-abused cooker.
Aimée makes this stuff for the dogs. I don’t care to know what’s in it. All that I can think is, I have known several older gentlemen who have carried this same scent on their shirt collars.
The bone broth has to stay in the oven overnight. Perhaps understandably, as the smell pervades the senses and the new cream carpet, it has tinkered with my sleep. I can only dream in tones of the avuncular.
Knowing I can’t handle the smell, Aimée usually holds off making the bone broth until I am out of the house.
She started cooking while I was at Movie Night. It wasn’t a late one – I suspect the suggestion of sex with a drunken horse was not terrifically comfortable for my people, so I arrived home early.
When I opened the front door, the scent nearly knocked me off my feet. If there had been a pub with rooms nearby, I would have left there and then, and spent the night with pub grub, beer and free WiFi.
However, I rather enjoy complaining and I had been charged with bringing a message to Aimée. Our former Vice Chairman, a frightfully nice chap with bulging calves and bright blue trainers, had sent his teenage daughter to the fête on Saturday with his not-in-laws.
She had brought her little dog of indeterminate breed, and come second in Waggiest Tail. I was to thank Aimée, my former Vice Chairman told me, for the marvellous job she had done at the Dog Show. Everyone agreed she had been very professional and delightfully maverick. They were pleased.
This is the kicker: I was to thank Aimée, when I saw her. When I saw her. She lives in my house. My house that now smells of gravy, but still, it’s pretty certain I will see her. Unless Dave knows something I don’t.
Certainly, none of us knows exactly what Aimée puts in the bone broth.
Definitely bones, raw and loaded with pulpy marrow, perhaps there’s apple cyder vinegar, a meagre dusting of tree bark, some psyllium husk. As the dachshunds approach their seasons, and for the duration of the flooded hormones and nervous napping, they take a daily supplement to help them with potential phantom pregnancy, and to keep their lady-parts safe.
These are nicknamed ‘healthy uterus pills’. They are made from raspberry leaf, and I think they must be pretty harmless; my male jack russell has had one or two, with no ill-effects whatsoever.
I don’t think she puts healthy uterus pills in the bone broth.
When Aimée is on any of these food preparation kicks, I tend to leave the house. The grinding sound of the knife sharpener puts my teeth on edge. The scent of woollen liver and soft, fat kidney wafts over and changes the flavour of my coffee.
The internal organs lie splayed out on the chopping block. I wander up to the Legion, I drink myself silly until my sense of smell is not so keen, and then I lollop home.
She has a list of percentages. Raw feeding, you understand, is not a simple case of meat, meat and more meat. Of course, there is meat, but it must be balanced with offal and bone. Aimée makes little gobbets of vegetable and herb, to improve the breath. She sprinkles parsley like a fancy-pants restaurant garnish.
The list of percentages is complicated and puts me in mind of a calorie controlled diet. I have never had time for these things. Any food that requires me to do maths can piss off. I am a child of the eighties, composed entirely of e-numbers and daisy-chains.
Some years ago, we had a calorie-based debate about beer. My friendly local barfly, a man for whom I have nothing but respect, wanted to convince the assembly that each and every pint of beer, bitter, lager and stout, contained as many as 1000 calories. Unless the pint in question contains a cheeseburger and a packet of pork scratchings, this is very unlikely. I have googled.
However, at the time, we didn’t have wifi at the Club, so we believed our friendly local barfly when he said we were each drinking about half a day of calories with every glass. You might well wonder if this uncertain knowledge slaked our thirst.
For the vast majority of us, absolutely not. We were already a little wankered and had given up caring.
One figure in the melée put down his glass and left, destined to wander into the open – let’s say arms – of his new girlfriend. Now, that might sound rather unkind. And I suppose it is. He was a nice guy, but he was also a guy who tried to blame a change in washing powder for his wife contracting herpes, syphilis and crabs over the course of their marriage. He used to brag about having enjoyed the affections of quite a number of women with dubious morals, some of whom were financially reimbursed. This has been a lesson learned the hard way, and repeatedly: just because he’s a nice guy doesn’t mean he’s a good guy.
You could almost smell the VD coming off him.
Of course, I couldn’t. All I can smell is gravy.