My brother takes the flour out. Bits of flour dust sail behind the paper bag as he brings it the counter.
He shakes the saucepan on the hob. It’s filled with caramelised onions. Sliced peppers. Sliced beef. He throws in some stock. It splashes over the edge and creates a symphony in the pot. Swirling, whirling. Drops of sauce on the sleek and shiny stainless steel cooker. A bit of half cooked meat on the counter, where it has lain there after flying out the pot during some aggressive stirring.
He slaps the dough on the counter. Kneads away. Somehow a glob of dough lands on the edge of the sink behind him. On the cupboard handle. On the edge of his shoe.
Wraps the dough in clingfilm. Pushes it into the fridge. The egg tray falls out, and the only egg in it cracks on the floor.
Old rag, smearing egg yolk on the floor. Kick the mop over. Pour a glass of water over the egg. Mop it up. Leave the mop leaning against the door.
‘You done with the mop?’
I know that’ll stay there for a few days. Until some unwitting person wants to mop and will smell the unholy stench of raw egg rotting.
The dough is ready. He slams it on the counter. Takes the rolling pin out.
Sheet of dough. In the greased baking dish. Blind baked, fork holes peeping up at the searing heat of the oven curling the air over it.
Pours the filling into the pie shell. Drapes the other dough sheet over the top. Fork pricks.
Milk wash…. he had broken the last egg, remember?
I sit on the sofa in the next room with a good view into the kitchen. The beef pie is in the oven. It smells incredible. He can’t see me. He sees flour all over his hoodie. So he shakes the edge of it, and a cloud of flour dust flies into the air. He claps his hands on his trousers. Rolls down his sleeves.
‘Food’s nearly ready,’ he tells us, gruffly, as he heads upstairs.
‘Thank you darling,’ my mother tells him. She coos at my baby, who is sitting happily on her lap.
And I think, that boy hasn’t changed a single bit since he was a chubby little boy messing up the kitchen in a well-meaning attempt to scramble eggs.
Is it annoying? Yes, so much so. Does his food taste good? Delicious. Do I clean up after him? Yup. Does he think he has cleaned up after himself? Yes. Does my telling him he hasn’t done it well enough work? Nope. Hasn’t worked for over twenty years. What makes you think it will work now?
Also. I am at my mum’s house. Somebody else is holding my baby and somebody else is cooking dinner. Am I about to regurgitate an old sibling fight about messy cooking?
Hell to the no!