This is a photo of Pirojki, like the ones I made today. I did not add anything dodgy in them, honest. Just some minced beef and onions, wrapped in puff pastry....
A while ago, I wrote about the British attitude towards physical contact.
Funnily enough, I talked about a foot massage. So, imagine my shock, when a friend offered to massage my feet today.
We had friends over for lunch; and I, driven by my bizarre nesting instinct, decided to cook some of the Azeri/Russian dishes for them. I made plov, of course, and some pirojki, and some beetroot salad...the usual suspects. (Or the only ones I know how to make.)
My non-Azeri friends were touched by my effort. Clearly, the lady friend was so touched that she just wanted to do something nice for me in return. Honestly, I did not expect this much appreciation.
She noticed that I did not stop since they arrived. If I was not finishing up the dishes, I was tidying up. If I was not tidying, I was serving something, and so on.
‘Stop!’ She shouted in the break between the main course and the desert. ‘Just sit down and put your feet up! I bet you must be exhausted.’
‘ In fact’ she added,’ I will give you a foot rub. You are pregnant, you must really need a foot massage!’
I laughed, thinking she was joking. But oh, no. She was not. Not only she insisted on giving me a foot massage, she then very quickly progressed to the decision to give me a pedicure.
You must believe me when I say I fought hard against this. I told her it was embarrassing. I told her it was weird. I told her she was too drunk and did not know what she was doing, and I did not want to take an advantage of her in that state. But, having made her mind up, she was simply unstoppable.
Having grubbed a bowl from the kitchen, she ran upstairs and reappeared with it filled with soapy warm water and a towel. She insisted I told her where I stored my pedicure instruments, and sat me down on a sofa. She even brought me a glass of water, like in a proper salon. As I sat there, feeling awkward, she rubbed my feet with a scrub and proceeded to give me a proper (and it has to be said, a very good one) pedicure.
Is this something she always did when she went to someone’s house for a Sunday lunch, I wondered. ‘No!’, she claimed, ‘I have never done this before.’
‘Hmm...’I said. ‘You are suspiciously good at it. I bet you tell this to everybody, like those girls who claim they “have never done this before”, or “ never do it on the first date, honest!”
To me, it was one of the most unusual friendship experiences, it has to be said. I have never had a pedicure done by a friend. OK, maybe once, a long time ago, when I was young and single, and a bunch of us got together for a pedicure party. But now? In Britain? By a respectable middle-class lady? It was pretty surreal.
Even the children thought it was odd, let alone the husbands, who came back from their after-plov stroll, only to find us engaged in this unusual activity. I am sure they would be no more shocked if they found us naked in bed.
Don’t take me wrong, I am not complaining. She did explain, that it was only because I was pregnant that she felt like looking after me. ‘If I ever come to your house when you are not pregnant, and I ask to give you a foot massage, then you are allowed to worry!’ she said.
‘Ah...’ I thought, relaxing and closing my eyes for a minute ‘I guess that does make sense.’