You’ve no idea the trouble Noeline Hartstonge and husband Quentin had in procuring ethically sourced cocoa beans. They were to be used as a conclusion to an ordinary dinner with several other couples they had met through the local Croquet Club. Ethically sourced cocoa beans and organically grown bananas. These days it was fast becoming almost impossible to entertain.
Clyde Currie was the only invited guest to eat meat. Was he going to feel hard done by when served only vegetables? Three of the guests (I shall not name them because things could become tedious) were vegan. Does one make the whole meal vegan, or are the vegans happy to sit at a table while Clyde sucks on a lamb chop and the other guests quaff egg-based quiche?
Noeline settled for a completely vegan option. It was a lot more straightforward than trying to cater for all sorts of needs. She had to make the cucumber soup twice, because the first time she accidentally used (out of sheer habit one suspects) chicken bouillon. The first main course, made mainly with kidney beans, once prepared looked a little too much like ground meat, but Noeline managed to disguise the meat-look by decorating it with button mushrooms.
The little dinner party began. The pre-dinner aqua with ice cubes and a smidgen of organic lemon juice was delightful. When it came to the mains, Audrey enquired that although it looked like ground meat with mushrooms on it, she hoped it wasn’t cooked in an oven that previously had meat cooked in it. The flavour comes through, and Audrey said she wasn’t a raging carnivore. She would pass on the kidney beans. Ronald and Emile concurred. They didn’t want to make themselves ill.
Francine said she would pass on the main because of the mushrooms. Although she wasn’t impartial to them, she had read somewhere that sometimes people can develop allergies later in life. She had no intention of tempting fate. Also, there was no guarantee that the mushroom farmer had standards of hygiene approved by the government. What did it say on the packet?
I do hope, Noeline, that you didn’t use salt; or if you did that it’s kosher. And I heard that pepper is actually fattening.
In the end, all settled for an organic banana, although Myrtle gratefully declined because of unjust wages paid to workers in Ecuador. It’s because people unlike her are not taking a stand that everyone in these third world countries have to do without. It’s bananas!
But what a delightful evening! Quite, quite delightful!
Noeline Hartstonge and husband Quentin are thinking of taking up lawn bowls.