A love built on semolina pudding

WE had semolina for pudding.

I was going to say we had semolina for dessert, but nothing resembling semolina could ever pose as a dessert which, surely, has strawberries or mangoes in it, and the exotic taste of the tropics.

Semolina is a pudding. You can eat it or, if you have more sense, you can use it to glue bricks together, or as a gasket in an engine block. Once it’s gone hard it has the durability of granite.

While soft it merely tastes the way I imagine granite might taste if you could pulverize it and mix it with snot.

And it is not my favourite pudding. If I placed all my favourite desserts/puddings on a scale from one to 10, semolina would rank about minus 3768.

And I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking: if you dislike it that much, why eat it, dill-brain?

If you’re asking this question I can only conclude you are young or single, or both, because life and a long marriage teach you that the world is more complicated than that.

Semolina and I go back a long way. We have fought wars together.

Not always on the same side.

But it’s too late now to change the course of history.

When I was a young man and my heart was full of poetry and birdsong and I saw the world through a haze of romantic notions… I lied about the semolina.

We were both young and in love.

What other explanation could there be for a young woman serving a young man something as objectionable as semolina?

I suppose if she hated him… but I don’t think she did.

I just think that she’d read somewhere that the way to a man’s heart was through his stomach and she was going for a frontal attack.

And what other explanation could there be for a young man eating it? When you’re sharing your first candlelit dinner with — as it turned out — the mother of all your children, it’s not a good idea to say: “Great God woman, what the hell is this!

You can’t reach through the glow of candlelight, squeeze her hand, and say: “Darling, I think you should know, before it’s too late, that semolina offers the same stimulation to sexual desire as the stuff that gathers under the rim of one’s big toe.”

If I had, my life would have been different. For a start, I wouldn’t still be eating the bloody stuff.

But I couldn’t see the future!

How could I know that the murmured moans of pleasure I emitted, as I sieved two bowls of semolina through locked teeth, would lead to a lifetime of culinary hell?

I was so convincing that she gave it to me again, bless her. And again.

She smiled proudly as she dished it up, and watched with anticipation as, smiling, I forced it down.

And now it’s too late. The closest I have ever come to admitting I hate the stuff is the day I said: “Uh… you don’t think we eat too much semolina?”

“But you love it!”

“Yes… yes, of course. But… you know. Maybe we could have a change…?”

The back stiffened. The tone congealed. “Well, of course… if you don’t like it…”

I asked for a second helping.

How could I destroy a lifetime romance?