x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

Takeaway is the way forward

In our new apartment on Reem Island, it's often difficult to get food delivered, but a tip from the neighbours is to pick up some hot food on the way home.

I get home from work anywhere between 7pm and 8pm, around three hours after Mr T. We have significantly different work hours: he heads to the office before my alarm starts trilling, and I make it home with barely enough time to see him before his eyelids start drooping with exhaustion.

It has been so ever since we met, and we have managed to find a way around it. Our weekends, for example, are sacred ground - we do not allow any activity that separates us to infringe on our days together. Our weeknight dinners are pushed back quite late; not exactly the healthiest of solutions, but a necessity if we plan to share a daily meal, regardless of its calibre.

In an attempt to find a balance between dining so late and living long enough to see our 50s, we are perpetually vowing to embrace only the healthiest of recipes. This involves roasting a lot of broccoli, grilling a lot of skinless chicken breasts and bemoaning the absence of a lot of our favourite starchy side dishes, all of which takes a lot more time than popping a frozen pizza into the oven.

However, our recent move to a high-rise on Reem Island has presented me with a solution that is evil in its high-calorie and transfat content, but genius in its ease and simplicity.

In our other building, I always felt like the odd one out whenever I got home so late. I never ran into other burnt-out souls, bogged down with laptop bags, limbs slack and weary, eyes glazed from staring at a computer screen for so long. We lived in a building full of families or university staff and students, located in the middle of the city. Its inhabitants mostly cooked in the roomy kitchens or headed down to the building's first floor to use the dorm's cafeteria. I rarely, if ever, ran into any food in the lift.

Our new building, however, is out in what sometimes feels like the middle of nowhere, and most restaurants in the city seem loathe to deliver food unless there is a minimum order, often upwards of Dh150. For one or two people, that's a hefty amount, better spent on a night out.

This is why, in our new building – which seems chock full of working folk with hours similar to my own – everyone I encounter in the lift when I get home from work is carrying something extra in addition to the standard issue laptop and files.

There is always an unobtrusive plastic bag emitting an enticing aroma. Kebabs from an Iranian joint, grills from a Lebanese restaurant, curries from the Indian place around the corner: my neighbours all arrive home as hungry as I and also dreading the idea of slaving over a stove.

They all seem to have found a solution that never occurred to me, considering how easy it is to order home delivery in the UAE. The next best thing? Takeaway, of course. Besides, when I walk through the front door and into Mr T's waiting arms, wouldn't those arms be twice as happy to see me if I came home with some food?