Sugared sauce

That Thursday morning, Tinuke was in a hurry to leave for work. Two days before then she had had words with her landlady and she hated that they lived in the same compound but there was nothing she could do about it except pray that the months fly past so that she could leave as she had no intention of renewing her rent. The woman was a geriatric and so it felt good to terrorise her tenants since she didn’t have anything to occupy her otherwise so she constantly kept busy picking faults. As usual, Tinuke’s alarm went off by 5a.m and she grunted before she sat up so that she was in no danger of falling back asleep. Then she knelt by her bedside to pray and read her daily devotional. She was in the bath fifteen minutes after and she took a hot bath. One of her siblings was living with her and she usually slept in which was no surprise since she stayed up at all hours. The universities were on strike again and there were no casual jobs so she stayed in and tried to use her creativity wisely since she was a second year student of architecture. Tinuke constantly came home to meet cardboard debris and glue tubes in funny out-of-the way places.
Tinuke was thinking of a way to get her geriatric landlady off her back and the idea came to her when she was enroute work. She sent a text to her younger sister to get some items from the mall close to the house- some vegetables, chicken and minced meat. Tinuke was going to make pasta and white sauce and present the offering to the woman since she was never satisfied with what her help served her. She was quite hard to please. She would be glad to be rid of her troubles when she moved as she was already house hunting. At the close of work she hurried home and undressed from the doorway. Her sister got her a robe to wear as she set about with dinner preparations.
“Aunty, what’s the hurry? We aren’t usually this early in making dinner”, her sister Tife stated.
“Well this evening is the exception. I want to be through before seven if possible”, Tinuke replied.
“Hmm”, Tife said and went to the living room. The lazy girl was content to sit and wait for dinner to be served to her.
“I’d need your help Tife so let’s get to work on all four burners”, Tinuke shouted to her sister who was already in the room.
“Yes ma’am”, Tife shouted in reply.
Tinuke set to work immediately as if she were in a competition. She rinsed he chicken laps and started boiling on one burner, put the spring onions, carrots, peas, runner beans and green pepper in a bowl under the tap.
“Boluwatife!” Tinuke shouted from the kitchen.
“I’m coming”, came Tife’s response. She sounded petulant like a spoilt child but I was not going to give her the opportunity to be lazy tonight.
As soon as she entered the kitchen, Tinuke put her to work slicing the vegetables. “I want the carrots in strips dear, everything else chopped.”
Tinuke got a pack of spaghetti from one of the cupboards and brought some water to the boil on another burner and then added the spaghetti after breaking it, splashed a little olive oil and salt and cover the pot after lowering the heat. She searched the spice cupboard for corn flour that would the sauce and arranged all the spices she would need and then she searched for another chopping board and then joined her sister in cutting the vegetables up. They finished just as she drained the spaghetti and spiced it with peas. She set to work making the sauce but distractedly, she had brought out the corn flour pack where she had poured granulated sugar. Tinuke absentmindedly put two tablespoons into a mug and mixed it till smooth and added the solution to the sauce and started to slice a lap of chicken to add along with the vegetables.
“Arrange the chicken in the microwave and set it to grill”, Tinuke instructed. “Check the sauce it should have started thickening.”
Tife put a spoon in and called Tinuke’s attention. “It’s not thick at all sis. Take a look”, she said and put a spoon in and allowed the soup to pour back into the saucepan.
“That’s strange! Lemme see”, Tinuke said collecting the spoon. Then she tasted it and found that it was sweet. Sugar sweet. She smiled to herself and went back to the spice cupboard to get the right corn flour and quickly mixed two and a half spoonful’s into another mug to dissolve it in tap water. She added some more salt. She added the mixture into the sauce and left it open and reduced the heat.
“Aunty is it this water we are eating with our spaghetti? Spaghetti and chicken stock! Ha!” Tife complained.
“Hush!” Tinuke said still smiling without letting on to Tife.
Tife kept quiet but she still murmured under her breathe but Tinuke continued her slicing. She added the vegetables and chicken and stirred it lightly. Tife was looking at her strangely because she was still grinning to herself but she continued with what she was doing as if she had not seen the curiosity on her sister’s face. She turned off the burner and served some food into a casserole and gave it to her sister.
“Take this to the landlady and tell her it’s from me”, Tinuke said.
“Okay”, Tife said and marched off.
“Whew!” Tinuke said to herself in the hot kitchen. She checked her wristwatch and it was two minutes past seven. She had hit her mark with just a few extra minutes.
Tife came in with a question. “Sis, care to tell me why you were laughing?”
“Okay but over dinner so get a plate and let’s go sit in front of the television”, Tinuke said getting herself a plate of food.
She went to the living room and plunked down on the couch. “Please bring a cup and orange juice”, Tinuke shouted out in the direction of the kitchen to Tife.
“Yes ma’am”, Tife answered.
Tife sat cross-legged on the floor and turned to face Tinuke who then told her what she had done.
“So we’re eating sugared sauce! Tastes yummy”, Tife said.
They both laughed till they had tears streaming from their eyes. Even minutes after, Tife was still laughing and when the landlady called to say thank you that the food was sweet she burst into fresh gales of laughter making it impossible for Tinuke to respond with a straight face.



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