“Isn’t Ben good?” his mother will say to me in a low admiring voice when she and Dirk visit, after Ben has carved his roast, a plate of meat that will have been marinading in its bath of liquor and herbs for twenty-four hours, and which will have kept him busy all morning while I was changing nappies and popping out for emergency garlic and laying the table and filling the water glasses. And I think of all the little meals that fall to me, which are eaten without anyone really noticing the crispness of the potatoes or the bite of the green beans: the modest everyday dishes that pass entirely without comment, competently executed and palatable. Isn’t Ben good? I suppose he is. – Her by Harriet Lane



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