Exam time has once more arrived without me realising in due time. Apart from the usual stress about exams, this period is accompanied by many other discomforts, especially if, like me, you’re somehow more productive in the library than in your own home and you are, consequently, condemned to be in the vicinity of other people all the time.
I’m fairly intolerant of other people as it is, and exam time does not make me a nicer, calmer person, so it takes very little to annoy me. On top of that I have difficulty concentrating, which is the whole point of me going to the library: nothing to distract me there. You’d think.
Imagine, therefore, my alarm when a person occupies the desk next to me and before opening a single book, fills the workspace with a mobile phone, an i-pod, a flask of tea, a bottle of water, an apple, two satsumas, a pack of sandwiches, a pack of tissues, a bottle of cough syrup and a little bag of crisps. Jesus Christ, has the zombie apocalypse broken out without my knowing it? Are we snowed in?
It all goes downhill from there. The tea is presumably still quite hot, because it needs to be consumed with a rather loud slurp. I say nothing and focus on my notes. Next, the sandwich is unpacked. Yippee, it’s tuna, my favourite! My favourite smell to sit next to whilst studying Tacitus, that is. I ignore it and study my translation. But then the incredible happens.
From a bag that I had not noticed (or had not deemed worthy of notice) before, this person, this beast, this devil of a creature whips out… A SALAD. Yes, a goddamn salad. With croutons, cheese flakes and everything. There’s even a little plastic fork and a little plastic knife in amongst the cheerfully coloured cherry tomatoes and leaves of rocket.
Casually the foil is peeled off the square plastic salad box. Out comes the dressing (yes, apparently there was dressing too, I hadn’t noticed it at first), in a tiny plastic cup. And with the dressing, out comes the smell. And meanwhile, I am outraged. Surely a library, such a sacred place, filled with books that must at all times be kept dry, is not a place to be eating salad!
Before one of the cherry tomatoes has the chance to explode upon contact with the blunt prongs of the fork and splatter seeds all over my texts, I grab all of my books and leave. I cannot stand it any longer. I am going home, to eat a mint and tomato salad, the way it should be eaten, in the comfort of my own kitchen, far away from books.
This is not really a main, more of a side, so for two you’ll need no more than:
- two tomatoes
- half a shallot
- a handful of fresh mint
- half a lemon (or: about 4 tbsp of lemon juice)
- olive oil
- pinch of salt, sugar and pepper
Wash and cut the tomatoes and put them in a bowl. Finely chop the shallot and the mint and sprinkle over the tomatoes. Mix the lemon juice with about the same quantity of good olive oil, some pepper, a tiny little bit of sugar and a generous pinch of salt. Pour this over the tomatoes. Easy as that.