“I Can’t Eat Any Spices”

On a dull and cooler day, I spent the morning working on the last of the paperwork for my tax return. I was diverted from posting the documents to my accountant until this evening by two welcome visits from friends.

Giles visited early in the afternoon to wish me well for the knee surgery. With Jackie, we enjoyed the kind of conversation that is only really possible with lifelong friends, where there is so much known and understood about each other.

Later, a newer friend, Richard from Kitchen Makers, visited. He is to reform our dressing room. Our conversations are animated and stimulating. With him we don’t have a lifetime of reminiscences, and we are still learning about each other. In addition to being a superb craftsman, he is a great conversationalist and can speak intelligently about a range of subjects.


This evening we dined at Lal Quilla where we enjoyed the usual excellent food and friendly service. We both ate prawn puri starters; Jackie’s main course was chicken shaslick and mine was lamb naga; we shared a plain paratha and egg fried rice, and both drank Kingfisher.

The reason we visited our favourite restaurant was that I had been told that I should not eat chillis the night before my operation. It was not me this evening who could not eat any spices. It was the woman in the booth behind us who stated that she couldn’t eat any spices at all and therefore wanted to know which of the meals could be cooked without spices. The patient waiter fielded that one with his customary discretion and tact.


  1. I suppose you can go one night without chilis. πŸ™‚
    You are right about the conversations one can have with old friends, and it also a pleasant to find new “kindred spirits.”

  2. According to my calendar you are already preparing for knee surgery – I expect it to go extraordinarily well and to hear you are preparing to walk a quarter marathon this time next year! I have nothing to say about the request for spice free Indian food that has not already been said. Except kudos to the server for not laughing out loud πŸ™‚ xo

    1. Lovely comments, Pauline. The op will be in a little over 24 hours. Raoul, the waiter, is the soul of patience and discretion. Although he is great fun, we knew not to meet his eye. πŸ™‚ Many thanks.

  3. I believe I’m having sympathy pains for you, Derrick…my knee has been killing me today. Some spicy food might cure it, though. I love spicy! Wishing you the best!

  4. All the best Derrick for your operation tomorrow(18th), and I had a giggle, that the ladies spice issue was handled with discretion and tact.

  5. The thing about dear friends is you can pick up right where you left off, no matter time and distance. Good luck with your surgery Derrick!

  6. Certain dishes based on pumpkins, potatoes, okra, spinach, brinjals, bitter gourd etc. can be cooked without spices. Mainly, these dishes are sauted in oil and are ‘bhujia’ (roasted) in nature. A pinch of turmeric may be needed in some of them. ‘Bhujia’ may sound similar to ‘onion bhajia’ but it is different in that the latter is dabbed in a paste of gram-flour and deep fried and are not in the nature of ‘sabji’ (vegetable dish).

  7. When I think of surgery I always recall the old Pommy joke, the operation was a success but the patient died,
    Good Luck Derrick, and stay off the chilli πŸ™‚

  8. Joining all the others wishing you many lucks for your impending giant body piercing! πŸ˜€

    Asking for no-spice food – did she end up with a glass of (unspiced) water? πŸ˜€

  9. I forgive you for mentioning the “l” word, but only because of your forthcoming theatre appearance. I shan’t say “Break a leg” though.

  10. Best wishes on your knee surgery!
    It is fun to have conversations with “old” friends, new friends, and to overhear conversations in public. πŸ™‚
    Poor lady! No spices! πŸ™ I don’t think I could live without spices. πŸ™‚
    I hope life is spice-y for you after you recover! It will be good to get the surgery done and then get on the mend. All will go well! Hang in there!
    Carolyn πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks a lot, Andrew. I think it’s July. I only really have pensions to consider now, but I still have an accountant to do my returns so I don’t have to think about it πŸ™‚

  11. Yes, best to go to a different restaurant if you can’t eat any spices. Good luck with that surgery! All your readers, I’m sure, will be anxious to hear how it went..I know I will be.

  12. Your meals are always enticing and colourful Derrick, maybe time to start a Word Press site solely devoted to your favourite cuisine and recipes for us boiled egg followers.

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