Across Continents

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In the kitchen

Maryam

Think she’d taken a bit of a shine to me. Ordinarily, a little less than ten pounds a night got you a bed, no more. But Maryam the cook had other ideas. Breakfast once the dining room was quiet, a film crew using the guest house as a base. Compliments of the house, Benny the manager explained. But it was dinner I enjoyed the most because I was invited into the kitchen, encouraged to tuck into generous plates of food. I doubted if many were so permitted.

Thirty or so guests to cater for. Plates of neatly chopped herbs, tomatoes, peppers. Carefully ordered fridge. Impeccably clean work surfaces. Joined by the Spa staff as service approached, there was a warm communal atmosphere, everyone pitching in. But you knew who was in charge, unspoken. I’d offered to help, but that wasn’t allowed. Not in Maryam’s kitchen.

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