I never take much food on road trips. Usually I buy a coffee as I get going and then stop along the way and eat junk, like slap chips, bar-ones and wine gums. The road trip I did now, taking a chance and heading to my boyfriend in a pandemic, was no different. I picked up a double flat white with a peanut butter strawberry jam muffin and was good to go.
For two days – I drive slowly and always get lost – I ate badly. Greasy burgers from the Wimpy at Shell Ultra Cities, with extra squirts of bright yellow mustard and fake red ketchup.
I arrived in the Cape after five long lonely dry months, expecting scented candles, wine, silk sheets and the human touch.
Instead I got a bagel, enormous mound of chopped liver, pickled cucumbers, chicken soup and kneidlach.
“Have another bagel,: he said.
“I really can’t, I am so full,”I replied.
“Just a little more liver,” he insisted. ” Have you ever had a kneidle so big, here, you have to have mine, take this, you look thin, you haven’t eaten in five months, try the provolone, another bagel, you’re starving, eat…”
Did I mention I have a Jewish boyfriend?
That I haven’t ever seen such big kneidles.
And that I couldn’t enjoy the human touch because my stomach was HUGE and I smelt of liver.
We caught up. A lot. It was really good. This is where I keep the salmon, he told me, the cheese is here, you haven’t even tasted the olives, look at these berries, check this incredible salami which kind of made me smile because during lockdown he turned plant based, even though it was just three days
I eventually had to slam the kitchen door and seduce him, not on the kitchen counter because there was liver smashed everywhere but in the fridge because I couldn’t get us out of it.
We had a few glorious days. He made jungle oats for breakfast and gave me second helpings even when I was bursting, fed me berries, popped dates into my mouth and then we planned our own little road trip.
I would’ve picked up a coffee and done the usual. But no. He, who is not the camping kind, had bought a giant cooler box from TakeALot and already been to Woolies. Carrots, hummus, peaches, camembert, brie, little crunchy apples, naartjies and strawberries.
There was more, but I can’t remember what.
We packed the car for our road trip, including two deck chairs and an umbrella which is kind of sweet because he hates the beach.
And just before we got out of SeaPoint, we stopped at Giovanni’s.
“A quick shop,” he told me. “Just in case.”
The trip was beautiful. Every time I put my hand on his leg, he asked me to pass the nuts.
About ten minutes in we stopped and ate the bagels with rare roast beef and horseradish.
Gotta say, they were beyond delicious. I highly recommend Giovanni’s.
As we approached Napier, with half an hour to go and just as I passed him the liquorice, he went white and quiet.
I thought he’d overeaten.
The red light was flashing.
“Oh fuck,” he said. “I forgot to buy petrol.”
The downside of a Jewish boyfriend.
I tried to tell him it would be okay but he told me not to talk.
Half an hour later we rolled in to Arniston, on a wing, a prayer and a near empty cooler box.
Now we are in our little guesthouse. It’s glorious here. We’re lying on the bed which is king size, a good thing because any smaller and we might not fit on it.
It’s 4 pm. The wave are crashing outside, it’s a perfect afternoon for a walk. Or the human touch.
“Come baby,” I said, leaning over towards him.
“Let’s go eat,” he said.
“Okay,” I replied.
We are both surprisingly hungry.