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I love peanut butter. A crunchy thick dollop of it is my very idea of heaven, especially when it is adorning one or two of my favourite unsalted rice cakes. Peanut butter is my secret vice, you see, I just can’t help myself.

So, on this particular day I tip-toe into the kitchen and take the packet of rice cakes out of the cupboard. I love that slightly toasty, singed smell they always have. I extract two and place them carefully on the work surface. They lie there glorious in all their puffed ricey splendour. Next, I take out the jar of peanut butter, chunky, of course! Nectar of the gods! I remove the lid full of blissful anticipation but, to my horror, the jar is nearly empty. There is just enough peanut butter left clinging to the sides of the jar to cover my two now very exposed rice cakes. The top of the jar is curved and very narrow but it is here that most of the residue can be found. It is at times like this that the slim fingers of a pianist or the dextrous, skilful hands of a surgeon are required rather than the slightly dumpy, rather arthritic set nature has blessed me with. Nevertheless, I set to work with a will and a rather small butter knife, a totally inappropriate tool for such skilled work, and begin mining treasure from the jar.

Whilst all this is going on I fail to notice the arrival of Wilf, the somewhat portly but very beloved consort of Daisy. He is a dog with but two loves in life, chasing Daisy, which he does with passionate joie de vivre and eating, which he also pursues with astonishing vigour. In a previous, non-canine, life he would have been a great gourmet or the restaurant critic of The Times. That said, he is also something of a lardy boy. I now need a small winch to lift him whereas once he tucked nicely under my arm with little effort required on my part. He is, therefore, on a strict diet and no dewy-eyed solicitations will wring from me a single morsel of whatever concoction I have on my plate and, as a vegan I can assure you some of those concoctions are pretty ‘interesting’. To Wilf, however, food is food, be it tofu or beef, he relishes it all equally. His diet means, however, that his methods of acquiring food are usually nefarious, requiring stealth, dedication, cunning and speed!

Back to the peanut butter jar……

My dedication to my task eventually yields enough gooey loveliness to provide an ample covering for both my rice cakes. I admire my handiwork for at least a second, patience has never been one of my virtues and then swoop upon the first rice cake like a hungry vampire to a neck. As I lift it to my lips, full of mouth-watering anticipation, the rice cake simply implodes in my hand. In terrible slow motion I watch helplessly as it descends, peanut butter side down, towards the kitchen floor. Out of the corner of my eye, I catch the merest glimpse, a blur of rotund black and white dog as Wilf launches himself from his vantage point at the foot of the stairs at a velocity Usain Bolt can only dream of! I hear the fearful snapping of jaws and the mournful sound of puffed rice ricocheting around the room like grapeshot. My rice cake never even makes it to the floor but is cruelly despatched somewhere in mid-air. There is not a crumb to be seen. In a second all of it is at home on the inside of a rather smug, self-satisfied pooch who merely licks his peanut buttery whiskers and returns to his vantage point in expectation of round two of the day’s proceedings.

I carefully examine my last remaining rice cake and its precious cargo. Deeming it safe to eat I pick it up and head for the sitting room leaving Wilf, brow knitting in deep disappointment, reclining at the bottom of the stairs. I plump myself down in front of the wood burner and let the oh so delicious flavours of peanut butter and rice cake dance a magnificent tango on my tongue! Lovely!!!




July 2018
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