Based on a conversation at a gathering years ago:
“My brother and I were taught to be polite and on our best behaviour, especially when we went out with our parents.”
Thus began the tale of two young children whose parents often took them to visit their good friends, Ted and Susan, who lived in a small house tucked back from the street with a wide entertainment area outside. Their parties were both legendary and long, so the children always arrived well prepared with books, crayons and paper to while away the time before their parents were ready to take them home.
The other thing that Ted and Susan were widely known for was their Beef Goulash.
On one such evening the children had been fed early, as they usually were before their parents went out to a party. As they were the only children there, once they had politely greeted everyone on arrival, they took their activity bags and settled down on the kitchen floor to play. The children had been there for some time, playing quietly whilst listening to the roar of conversation, scraping of chairs and the clinking of glasses outside. When Ted walked into the kitchen and saw them he exclaimed, “My goodness, would you like some Beef Goulash?”
The children looked up brightly. “Yes please” they replied in unison and tucked into the sloppy pile of juicy meat on their plates. Once complete, they had hardly placed their plates in the sink, just as their mother had taught them to do, when Susan came tottering in on her high heels. She swooped down on the two children, who had just settled back on the blanket spread out under the kitchen table.
“You poor neglected darlings!” She kissed them both firmly on the cheek, enveloping them with the mixed fumes of brandy and perfume. “You must be starving! Would you like some Beef Goulash?” Not waiting for a reply, she ladled the meat into two dessert bowls plucked from the draining board.
To their horror, Susan sat down heavily on a kitchen chair to watch them eat. They obligingly dug in with the soup spoons she had balanced on the top. “You’re eating so slowly … don’t you like my goulash?” She bent down towards them.
“It’s delicious,” one of them responded.
“So delicious that I want to really taste every mouthful,” the other chimed in.
Susan rose from the chair with some difficulty and clapped her hands before tottering off. “Everyone likes my Beef Goulash” she told them, leaning against the door frame. “Eat up, children. Don’t be shy for there is plenty more!”