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The flavour hung thickly in the air, flickering across my tongue and creeping down my lungs tantalisingly. I swallowed hungrily, saliva collecting in my mouth again almost instantly. The lid of the red pot was lifted and with a heavy sigh more fragrant steam was released, condensing against the cold windows of the conservatory. I stood against the sliding glass door, watching carefully as plates piled high with meat and vegetables were shuffled; I wondered whether the condensation would taste like the air and watched a single drop make its jagged way down the blinds, dropping to the floor and shattering like a liquid crystal.
Time moved in slow motion as my stomach rumbled in anticipation of the great feast ahead of us – was it ready yet? Could we eat now? How about now? Patience was not a virtue I possessed but could you blame me? It was shabu shabu season.