I was exhausted. I’d spent all day unpacking in my new flat and I was just about done. I had hefted the last wedge of packing paper down to the recycling and now there was just one thing left to put away – my moving in gifts.
Dad had grinned as he had handed over the box, his gift of a small tool kit on the top. “I tried to tell them, but they didn’t listen.” The tools were neatly stowed in the bottom kitchen drawer, but now I had to find a place for the rest.
I sighed. I had thanked everyone and smiled and looked grateful. I didn’t feel grateful. Even though I had been cooking for my parents for years, they seemed to think I needed a little help. I started slotting the books on the shelf.
This cookbook was from Mum; she was worried about healthy eating. This cookbook was from Auntie Joan; she loved Spanish food and thought I should try it more. This cookbook was from my sister, Clare; she could burn a pan of water and had given me a beginner’s book. This cookbook was from Marge next door; she had always loved handing out her homemade cakes, so she gave book about baking. This cookbook was from Uncle Steve; he didn’t approve of all this ‘modern rubbish’ and had given me a reprint of a Victorian cooking manual. Even my boss had given me a cookbook for meals in minutes.
I smiled. The recipes may never be used, but they are a wonderful reminder of their donors. A set of mugs or some tea towels may have been more practical but would never make me smile and think of the giver. I slotted the last book into the shelf and rang for a pizza.