Monday, February 16, 2015

First Word: Pamela Yorston: Glue

Glue is made of dead horses.  At least, in novels, when the horse breaks a leg and has to be put down, they send it to the glue factory.  I have a vague feeling they use the hooves.  If so, what happens to the rest?

            As a child, I loved salami, but my father said it was made of horse meat, which in the Argentine is paramount to eating rat.  ‘Meat’ in the Argentine always means cow.  You have: chicken, pork, lamb and meat.
            I think back to those days.  I’m sitting on the bottom step of the staircase; I can hear the soft hiss of the pressure cooker in the kitchen and faint snatches of tango coming from the kitchen radio. Isabel, the maid, is hoovering upstairs.  Abruptly, she switches off the hoover, and its noise slowly dies.  She picks up the phone.  I know this because I can hear her dialing: Trrrrck, tic tic tic tic.  Trrrrck, tic tic tic tic tic.  She’s calling the butcher, as she does every day.  It’s ten thirty and she will expect delivery by eleven.  She orders steaks.
            “Are they tender?  Fresh?  Are you sure?”
            She goes through the same ritual every morning.  We eat steak every day of the week.  Steak and boiled potatoes, because that’s what she likes.  My mother hates boiled potatoes but she’s not present.  She has her nose in a book and is drinking endless cups of tea.  Isabel carries on as usual.
            When I get married - I always preface my resolutions this way – 'when I get married', we will never eat steaks.
            And we never have.

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