A Temporary Matter

1162 Words5 Pages
Shukumar began to prepare dinner for the two of them, measuring out cupfuls of rice and spices. He combed through her cookbook, following her penciled instructions to use two teaspoons of ground coriander seeds instead of one, or red lentils instead of yellow. Shukumar enjoyed cooking for Shoba. It was the one thing that made him feel productive. As he prepared chicken with almonds and sultanas, he was reminded of Shoba in the kitchen singing to herself as she pounded garlic and cardamom pods, occasionally stopping to kiss Shukumar on the cheek. But Shoba hadn’t sang in the kitchen in a long time, and Shukumar knew that it if it wasn’t for him, she would eat a bowl of cereal for dinner. In her short story “A Temporary Matter,” Jhumpa Lahiri details Shoba and Shukumar’s crumbling marriage after the death of their newborn son. Shoba and Shukumar no longer eat together, and Shukumar prepares dinners for Shoba, making certain that Shoba eats the food that she once loved to prepare, even though he knew he could easily resort to serving her microwave dinners and PB&J’s. For Shoba, food evoked memories of happier times. It reminded her of…show more content…
Prior to the stillborn birth of her son, the kitchen was well stocked and Shoba found pleasure in preparing elaborate dinners for her loved ones. Shukumar smiled sadly to himself as he remembered when the pantry was always stocked with extra bottles of olive and corn oil, depending on whether they were cooking Italian or Indian. There were countless boxes of pasta in all shapes and colors, zippered sacks of basmati rice, whole sides of lamb and goats from the Muslim butchers at Haymarket, chopped up and frozen in countless plastic bags. For their first anniversary Shoba had cooked a ten-course dinner just for him. For their most recent anniversary, she had bought him a sweater that he
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