I love Spanish omelette. This guy is so cool!
“I bought lots of peppers too,” says Mum eagerly, handing him one. “Could they go in?”
Ade takes the pepper from Mum and turns it over in his fingers. Then he opens up his back pack to reveal a set of knives, all carefully packed in covers. We watch agog as he takes a chopping board from the kitchen table, places the pepper on it, and starts chopping it up.
Oh my God, I have never seen anyone chop so fast.
Everyone in the kitchen is just staring in astonishment. Even Frank. In fact, especially Frank. When Ade finishes and everyone bursts into applause, Frank is the only one who is still transfixed, his eyes like saucers.
“You.” Ade seems to notice him. “I want you on dicing duty.”
“But…” Frank swallows. “I can’t do that.”
“I’ll teach you. No sweat.” Ade looks Frank up and down. “You cooking in that? Got an apron?”
“I can find one,” says Frank hastily, and I stifle a giggle. Frank’s going to wear an apron?
Ade is now rootling around in Mum’s cupboards, dumping ingredients all over the counter.
“I’m going to make a shopping list,” he announces. “We need Parmesan, more garlic, harissa…Who’s our runner?” He looks at me. “Pretty girl in the dark glasses. You want to be our runner?”
Shopping’s OK-ish for me now.
I mean, it’s not always easy. I still have to deal with my lizard brain, which springs into action whenever I don’t want it to. Over the last few days, I’ve been feeling these, like, waves of panic at random times, which is really annoying, because I thought I’d got rid of them.
But what I’ve learned is not to fight my lizard brain, but kind of tolerate it. Listen to it and then say, “Yeah, whatever.” Just like you tolerate a four-year-old. I’ve come to think of my lizard brain as basically a version of Felix. It’s totally random and makes no sense and you can’t let it run your life. If we let Felix run our lives, we’d all wear superhero costumes all day long and eat nothing but ice-cream.
But if you try to fight Felix, all you get is wails and screams and tantrums, and it all gets more and more stressy. So the thing is to listen to him with half an ear and nod your head and then ignore him and do what you want to do.
Same with the lizard brain.
So when I freeze in sudden terror at the entrance to the supermarket, I force myself to smile and say, “Nice try, lizard brain.” I actually say it aloud, and exhale for twelve beats. (If you breathe out really slowly, it regulates the carbon dioxide in the brain and calms you down, instantly. Try it if you don’t believe me.) Then I saunter in, doing my best impression of someone who really couldn’t give a toss what some old reptile thinks.
And you know what? It kind of works.
When I get back home, holding two carrier bags, I stop dead in astonishment. Frank’s standing at the kitchen counter, chopping.
He’s wearing one of Mum’s aprons and he’s holding a knife I don’t recognize and he’s learned that cool-chef way of doing it. That chop-chop-chop thing. Fast. He’s pink in the face and totally absorbed. Like, he doesn’t even notice me watching, let alone come up with some wisecrack.
“Great!” Ade has noticed me and grabs the bags. “Let’s get that garlic out.” He sniffs it and rubs the papery skin. “Beautiful. OK, Frank, I want it finely diced. All of it.”
“Yes, chef,” says Frank, breathlessly, and takes the garlic.
OK, what has happened to Frank?
MY SERENE AND LOVING FAMILY—FILM TRANSCRIPT
INTERIOR. 5 ROSEWOOD CLOSE. DAY.
The camera enters the kitchen, where Frank is hunched over Dad’s laptop.
So, we had the fete today. It was OK. I won this in the raffle.
A hand picks up a fluffy pink loo roll cover from the kitchen table.
You put it on your loo roll. Isn’t it like the grossest thing you have ever seen?
She replaces the loo roll cover.
But everyone LOVED the food. I mean, it all sold out in, like, five minutes, and it got a special mention from the mayor.
The camera focuses in on Frank. He’s watching a YouTube video of a chef chopping.
D’you think Mum would buy me a set of knives? Like, proper knives?
Dunno. How much do they cost?
Frank opens a new window on the laptop.
These ones are £650.