Gourmand (noun)

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  1. one who is excessively fond of eating and drinking
  2. one who is heartily interested in good food and drink

(Ref: Merriam-Webster Online, Word of the day, 24 June 2020)

Use it in a sentence

Gabriela’s parents were famed for hosting lavish lunches. The first hot Sunday of the summer, her mother would commandeer the kitchen, whilst her father was ordered outside to tidy up the courtyard and set the enormous, heavy wooden table. Her father had made the table from old railway sleepers when they were first married, even though they’d had nowhere to put it back then. It didn’t take long, though, for them to enjoy success and purchase the seaside summer house that they now lived in permanently. The table could be set comfortably for 12 but there were always at least 16 chairs crammed around it. Squalling babies were perched on laps, and newly betrothed couples happily squashed together. In the stifling hot summers, their large leafy courtyard was a cool and shady haven to all.

Gabriela’s mother was renowned throughout the neighbourhood as a gourmand. Her plump cheeks, her curvy hips spoke of her keen interest in rich sauces, creamy pastries and piquant cheeses. Her mother could chat for at least 20 minutes with the local baker, about the right flour for a particular type of bread. My mother always made her own, but the baker always indulged her in conversation because they were the only two left in town who bought their own grains and had them milled.

Lunch always started with a seafood antipasto. So close to the sea, there was always an abundance of fresh sardines and octopus. Her mother battered and fried all of the whitebait herself, and stuffed the calamari and simmered them in her own sauce. Everyone’s favourite second dish was the spaghetti with vongole. So simple – garlic, olive oil, chilli. And yet everyone agreed there was something lush and decadent about it, that only her mother was capable of creating.

Her mother, flushed through, her face glowing with pride mixed with greasy steam, would not sit down until the fruit and cheese was on the table. Someone else would offer to make the coffee and pass around the crunchy crostoli that had been fortified with their own grappa.

Thus far, Gabriela had never shared her mother’s fondness for food. She avoided the kitchen, preferring to read a book in the garden. But lately, she noticed her mother had waned a little, had needed to sit down for a while after a long frying session.  

So, on one of those gloriously sunny Sundays, Gabriela rummaged around in a bottom drawer for a spare apron, put it over her head, tied it up and faced her mother who was startled to see her in the kitchen at all.

Gabriella smiled. ‘Teach me how to make the stuffed calamari.’

Her mother beamed back.

Incontrovertible (adjective)

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  1. Not open to question: indisputable

(Ref: Merriam-Webster Online, Word of the day, 27 June 2020)

Use it in a sentence

‘I was not at that hotel yesterday afternoon. I was offsite, yes, but it was that new building site, at least an hour out of the city. I spoke to at least six people while I was there. We didn’t get back until 6 and then I came straight home. All that is incontrovertible.’ He rushed a hand through his long fringe, clearly flustered.

‘Honey that’s six syllables of high and mighty. Come on down and speak to me like a human being.’  With that sarcastic tone, she might have been chewing gum, one hand on her hip, flipping him the bird. But she was far from it. She was poised and elegant, all 6ft of her frame drawn up tall, her feet firmly planted, her eyes level with him.

‘All I can say is, whoever sent you that note is just trying to cause trouble. I don’t know why. I just know it’s a load of bullshit. I wasn’t at that hotel.’

She narrowed her eyes at him, and then turned away. ‘We’ll see,’ she said quietly. She started to set the table for dinner. He stood for a moment longer, hands in his pocket, before he got two wine glasses down from the shelf. This wasn’t done. Not by a long shot. It was going to be a long night.

Fraternize (verb)

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1.      To associate or mingle as brothers or on fraternal terms

2a.   To associate on close terms with members of a hostile group especially when contrary to military orders

2b.   To be friendly or amiable.

(Ref: Merriam-Webster Online, Word of the day, 23 June 2020)

Use it in a sentence

Nicholas’s boss took him by the shoulders and stared at him. Before she could say anything, Nicholas frowned at her, look pointedly at her hands, and then frowned at her again. ‘This is classed as harassment, you know that don’t you.’

‘Yes, yes, of course. No hands, sorry.’ Debra quickly removed them. ‘I forget’

‘You always forget,’ Nicholas said drily.

‘Anyway! I’ve got a task for you. An interesting one. But it’s a bit dangerous.’

‘Oh yeah?’ Nicholas crossed his arms, but he was curious.

Debra lowered her voice and stared at him intently. ‘I need to you fraternize with the enemy.’

He stared at her blankly. ‘What enemy?’

‘The Happy Pig! Ever since he moved in down the road, he’s taken at least 40% of my business. I want to know why, I want to know how!’

‘So… what do you want me to do?’

‘They’re advertising for a part-time butcher. I want you to apply for the job.’

Nicholas was confused. ‘And then?’

‘And then quit after two weeks and report back to me. Where are they getting their pigs from? What are they selling in there?’ Debra leaned in, ‘Find out what’s in those sausages.’

‘That’s not fraternizing, that’s spying.’

‘Whatever. Will you do it?’

Nicholas narrowed his eyes at her. ‘What if they don’t give me the job?’

‘Let’s cross that bridge when we get to it.’

‘Will you keep paying me too?’

‘That’s extortion!’

‘You said it yourself, it’s a dangerous game. I don’t want to get caught with a cleaver between my shoulder blades.’

‘Oh, don’t be so ridiculous. It’s not that dangerous.’

He shrugged. ‘That’s the deal, take it or leave it.’

Debra wrung her hands, and then threw them in the air. ‘You’re a shit Nicholas.’

He smiled and removed his apron. He was done for the day. He had an application to put together.