Sophie White: One pot lamb dinner is hug-in-a-bowl

I’ve hit on a new insight about marriage lately. It coincided with some minor home improvements, namely painting. I mentioned to a friend that we were repainting the bathroom floor, and she was oddly concerned. “But you only have one toilet,” she whispered, looking horror-stricken. I couldn’t see the problem.

“Yes? What are you getting at?” She explained that she couldn’t understand how we could have the only bathroom out of action for any period of time.

“Ah… well, sure we used to live in a small van with no bathroom, plus we’ve small kids – there’s a lot of potty paraphernalia around the place, so…” I concluded with a shrug.

Her expression looked even more pained at this information. She announced that she couldn’t conceive of doing whatever it was that our out-of-action-bathroom situation demanded in the vicinity of her partner. She looked genuinely concerned about my marriage.

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“We’re fine,” I reassured her. “We’re just really, really married. Truly, madly, deeply married. Like peak married.” Peak married started as a joke between Himself and me. Whenever we’d encounter some new marital low, such as each of us plugged into separate laptops watching different TV shows, I’d text him, “We’re peak peak married right now.”

Peak marriage didn’t bother me initially. It just seemed like what happened to a marriage, things taking their natural course – as inevitable as, say, a pet dying of old age or having to endure rain.

I have seen evidence on social media that not all people allow their marriage to go quietly into the night. Some folk are still out there screaming into the void, plugging away at the romance long after peak married has set in for others. They’re posting “#datenight with this one” while we are using potty solutions during our low-key renovation.

There is one drawback that I have identified with the peak-married thing. It happens when you and your other half are hitting milestones of peak marriage at different rates. This disparity can be extremely unpleasant for the other person in the relationship, who may not have been anticipating peeing with the door open until at least the 10-year anniversary mark.

The one thing that can arrest the progression of peak married is time spent apart. I recently welcomed Himself home from a trip with this hug-in-a-bowl to make up for my having watched ahead in our current communal series, Line of Duty – a cardinal sin, as everyone who is peak married knows.


One-pot Lamb Dinner

Serves 4-6

You will need:

1-2 tablespoons oil

800g lamb shoulder, diced

1 onion, diced

2 carrots, sliced into rounds on the diagonal

2 stalks celery, sliced

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 tablespoon ground cumin

2 teaspoon smoked paprika

3 cloves garlic, sliced

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

500ml wine

500ml stock

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

2 sprigs fresh rosemary

900g potatoes, halved

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