I had been fantasizing about a piece of cherry pie waiting for me at home since about 2:30 pm. It was a very good pie- that “home-baked-style” which tricks you (with chemicals, probably) into thinking this pie was made at home – just ten minutes ago. The cherries were deep blood red, bursting with juice, and crust was rich and buttery.

This was the deal. I would have the pie when I got home, and that would be my dinner. Right? And this way, I would be healthy and wise. I would beat the calories. I would regain my pre-pregnancy figure. Sure.

So, after a long and horrible drive in a snowstorm, we arrived, and still wearing my outdoor clothes, I leaped to the kitchen counter like a hungry panther hunting down an antelope. Fortunately for world peace, the piece of pie was still there. I don’t know how it went down- seriously- I can’t even remember eating it.

Then I thought, as I started washing rice for the evening meal and putting last night’s meat stew (khoresh-e gheimeh) to heat, since I’m not having dinner, I’ll have half a cookie. Just half. After all, that’s half less the calories of a whole cookie. Right?

While waiting for the rice to boil, I had a piece of leftover cheese. It was stale and small, but tasted really nice.  And after all, I wasn’t having dinner.

The evening meal was almost ready. The beautiful smell of freshly-cooked rice and last night’s stew (everybody knows that Iranian stews taste much better the day after) scented the air. We had run out of oil, and so I had prepared the stew with butter. It had a rich, buttery smell- like the long-digested pie.

The stew was a deep browny-red colour. I had flavoured it with turmeric, cinammon and dried lemons. The pieces of meat were small and perfectly fried (like my father makes it), not huge and sloppy and boiled (like my my mother and mother-in-law make it). The split peas were soft but not mushy. The fried potatoes had been submersed in the stew since last nght, absorbing the taste. A work of art.

I had one plateful. Then another.

An hour later, I was stretched out on the couch, my belly full, my mind wandering in the slightly drunken euphoria that a lot of good warm food after a cold hard day produces.

To hell with the pre-pregnancy figure. I can always go to gym tomorrow. If I feel like it.


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