In praise of the ol’ peanut butter sandwich – By Rafiek Mammon

In praise of the ol’ peanut butter sandwich – By Rafiek Mammon

By Rafiek Mammon

So I finally took the plunge. Well, by plunge you of course know I mean it was my first time doing it – at the tender age of 50, no less! How cool is that? You may even wonder how did I manage to live without it for so long? So, no longer a virgin, I am afraid. And it was refreshingly different to what I thought it would be, and highly enjoyable. Was it all I expected it to be though? I am afraid not. It did hurt a bit – my hands, nogal – something I didn’t quite expect. I thought my arms or my hips would hurt more. And I don’t think I was particularly good at it either.

In fact, I would consider my efforts quite average for a first time. But more about that later! After all, it is not about how good one is, but that one went out and did it! Along with a friend or five, I went to hit a bucket of golf balls at the River Club driving range in Observatory a Saturday or three ago. Rewind to December last year. A golf-playing buddy of mine upgraded his set of golf clubs and very kindly offered me his used set – for free. Since then I have been threatening to learn to play (or at the very least go to the driving range) to learn to hit the ball. I even made an appointment with another friend who promised he would take me there and teach me. Needless to say, I postponed that appointment. Postponement became cancellation…’nuf said. The interest – and the time just wouldn’t allow.

So, when yet another friend wanted to do this for her birthday outing – replete with breakfast and all, I thought – well, this is it! It’s now or never! These are newly acquired friends who I really enjoy spending time with. And, the thought of a Saturday morning breakfast always appeals, which, as it turns out, was the most disappointing part of it all.

As a first-timer one always has expectations – irrespective of one’s open-mindedness…expectations are commonplace among us human folk, right? It was one of those Saturday mornings where I had a few things on my plate. Saturday mornings are synonymous with chores and Veronica, my domestic assistant. On this particular morning I also had an ex-neighbour collecting stuff that was stored in my garage and a few additional, unusual errands. I got up early (just after 6am) and had a peanut butter sandwich and a huge mug of coffee with Veronica. So, when 9am hit and we made our way to the River Club, I was not that hungry. I thought I would have a muffin or a croissant or a scone with jam and cheese and some lovely tea, perhaps. But no such luck. Nada. Nothing, Instead, there were a few “breakfasts” to choose from – about four or five with the usual eggs and bacon and other things I had absolutely no interest in, and they wouldn’t budge from this menu.

Not even a toasted sandwich, you may very well ask? Nope, not even that. Well, at least not anywhere near the menu… Then they offered me what seemed to resemble an English muffin with butter and jam. The tea (“Five Roses”) stood for about two minutes and still, when I poured it, it was nothing but cloudy water! And I promise you – I have more interesting socks and under garments in in my sock-‘n-underwear draw than the dish they served up. After a nibble or five on my microwave-heated bun/muffin combo, and a sip or three of my “tea” I couldn’t anymore. My companions thought their meals were “adequate”, mediocre even. Too much money for the small portions, they thought. They are renovating at The River Club at present. Perhaps that is the reason for the poor quality food (or lack of choice?)

We couldn’t say for sure. But I can say for sure it is not going to be a place I would go back to very soon – gastronomically speaking! Just before we left – ready to tackle the clobbering of the balls we had three huge glasses of apple juice and three equally gigantic glasses of orange juice delivered to our table. And, since none of us ordered these, we had to ask – are you sure you are delivering these to the right table?

They turned out to be complimentary drinks – not sure what for…the unhappiness with the service, the mediocrity of the food, the lack of choice, the inflexibility? After a few sips of juice, we cantered off, buckets of balls and drivers in hand. And I quite enjoyed it. Will go back for another round on a Saturday morn, methinks – after my homemade peanut butter sandwich and coffee breakfast.

Email: rafiek@mweb.co.za