Tales from the City- The Samosa Queen


The Shame of the Samosa Queen… or do you love anyone enough to give them your last Rolo?

Every Tuesday morning my neighbour starts cooking and I try to think of reasons to stay home. The smell drifts over the garden wall and I get hungry just thinking about what she’s mixing up in her kitchen. She makes the best Samosas in the world.

The first time that the smell of spices drifted over to me, I asked her what she was cooking ( mind you we were all standing on the front path.) Her husband on his way to work said, “Good morning.”

“I’m making Samosa’s.  Would you like one?” she asked.

Being oh so polite, I replied, “Oh yes, please. That would be so kind of you.”

She turned and went back into the house. I wiped the drool from my face, mentally urging her to hurry up!

“My wife makes them very hot.” Her husband cautioned.

“Oh, I can take that. I eat Indian food all the time.”

He raised an eyebrow, but said nothing.  I could tell from the look on his face; he doubted my brave words.

Her front door reopened, and out came the magic!  Golden triangles on a red plate, the magnificent, fragrant, delicious, large Samosas!


Warm and tasty!

She handed the plate to me. They both watched as I took my first bite.

This isn’t so hot, I thought to myself, whilst chomping down on the golden pastry. Suddenly my eyes watered, my nose ran, and all I could do was open my mouth to let air in. Hot? There isn’t a word to describe the fire!

She patted me on the arm. “Next time I will make some for you, for English people. Not so hot.”

I nodded unable to speak. Feeling let down by my body not matching my brave words, eyes blinded by tears, I stumbled back inside the house.

The following week I was stepping outside my door when my neighbour opened hers and handed me a brown paper bag filled with Samosas.

“I made it not so hot for you.”

“Oh thank you, thank you…” I grabbed the brown bag and carefully pushed it inside my coat pocket.

“I’ll save these for lunch.” I promised.

The smell from my pocket was too much to resist. They were warm, spicy, and my poor English tongue was able to take this version of it. I gobbled one on the train into London. So much for my weak promise to save them for lunch!

A few weeks later, cardamon, curry, and pepper wafted over to me from her kitchen. Aha! Samosa’s cooking! What to do? Do I pop my head over the garden wall and innocently say, “What are you cooking today?”  Do I wait by my front door, listening for her door to open, and pounce saying, “I say, any Samosa today?” Do I capture the postman and say, “Don’t worry, I’ll bring the post over. You carry on!”  Do I linger at the bus stop hoping she take pity and say, “You need a Samosa! You look hungry.”

I can’t make that much of a nuisance of myself, or can I? Luckily for me my dilemma ended quickly. The front doorbell rang. It was only the Lad, who was going to do some DIY. My heart sank. What a day to have to stay home. We went into the kitchen, and I fixed the tea. We sat there smelling the hot spices drifting through the window, getting hungrier by the minute. I could have closed the window, lit a vanilla candle, anything to put those Samosas out of mind, instead we stoically sat, drinking our tea, breaking the silence with, “That smells good, doesn’t it.”  He had sad little sandwiches for his lunch, ghostly white bread, butter, and paper thin ham slices of some sorts. He was about to eat it, when there was a knock at my door!

I could have danced on the spot! My neighbour stood with a smile on her face, holding a large plate of hot Samosas!

“For you and Terri,” she says.

“Ah, yes, sure. Terri, uh uh..Thank you,”  I said, trying to be as polite as I could, all the while, wanting to rush to the kitchen to eat them.

Well, it’s time to confess; I have a very dear friend. Terri is amazing and will do things for me that I quite frankly don’t deserve! A friend like this comes only once in one’s lifetime. She loves Samosas as much as the next person, and friends are meant to share favourite things. Right?

The problem is; she’s not here right now. She’s not due to come over until tonight. No time to waste then, the Lad and I tuck in. The slight puff of steam rose into the air as we bit into the warm Samosas. We don’t care that each one must be around 275 calories.  The fried triangular pastry shell burst with spiced potatoes, onions, fresh peas from the garden, coriander and lentils with each bite! Each one was palmed sized. Suddenly, we looked at the plate and there was one left! Crumbs! I was supposed to share this with Terri.  I looked at him and him me.

I won’t confess to who actually said this, but someone said…”Wouldn’t it be cruel to give her just one?  It looks sad sitting there on the plate all by itself.”

Now in my defence, that last samosa did look…well…pathetic. Well of course, it did look pathetic after the mountain of samosas we devoured. So, carefully and with great precision, we split  it into perfect halves, and well, the crime was completed. The Lad and I swore a secret pack; we would not mention the Samosas. What Terri didn’t know wouldn’t hurt her.  We were protecting her after all! That’s what good friends do!   Bellies full, content, top buttons undone, we were indeed that cat licking the cream off our paws.

The table cleared, dishes washed up, no sign of the crime remained. If the house smelled of Indian food, I could explain that away with– I left the window open and my neighbour was cooking today. Ah, life was good. The Lad left, and I sat down to look over the days work, belly full, and content. I had a good four hours to digest my crime before Terri was due over.

Suddenly I heard talking. Bit early I thought. I sprang up and went to my front door and pressed my nose to the frosted glass,  Crumbs it was Terri!  She was talking to someone on the front path! Maybe she was talking to my neighbour?

I rushed to the front room and peered behind the net curtains. It was the Lad! She hugged him goodbye and I hurried back to the front door, opening it with a wide smile!

“How could you?” Terri asked, handing me fresh vegetables from her garden for dinner tonight.

“How on earth did you manage to eat the whole plate of them? The Lad said it was massive! He’s just off to town to walk it off.”

“Well, not quite massive,” I replied sheepishly, mentally tallying up how many the Lad ate and how many I devoured. Perhaps enough Samosas for four men, certainly not what you would call a massive amount.

I told her what happened, how we lost our senses, and besides which, the lad was a growing boy. Well, I suppose I should tell all the truth. He was a strapping lad of twenty, working manual labor all day, and needed to eat. Sounds good, but how do you explain that he had to keep pace with me devouring those samosas when all the manual labor I do is pound the typewriter keys? Better left unsaid.

She wasn’t having any of that and said, “Nonsense, the lad had his own lunch with him and besides which I would have been more than happy with the last one. I would have saved the last one for you.”


Ah, this is what true friends are!  After loads of apologies and pleas  and promises to save the next one batch of Samosas, hugs were given and all forgotten. (Or so I thought!)

The next day my neighbour stopped me as I was heading to town.

“What’s this? Why didn’t you save some Samosa for Terri?  I thought you were best friends? That was very naughty of you. Poor Terri!”

“I ate them all.” I confessed. ‘I’m a rotten friend!”

“Next time I will give them to Terri. You are too dangerous around Samosa.”

I was due to leave on a trip in a few days. So what to do? I can’t leave with such a fresh crime staining our friendship. Whilst sitting at the kitchen table, the penny dropped. Remember the Rolo advert which sang out; “Who do you love enough to give your last Rolo?”

No hard decision here.

I went to the corner shop and bought about ten rolls, wrapped them all up, and left them on the table with a card. “See! I love you enough to leave you not just the last Rolo, but all my packages of Rolos!”


(errgg… let’s not ever remind Terri of the last samosa!)

About susan sheldon nolen

It’s rare to catch me without coffee, a form of camera, or my beloved wire fox terriers. I love the history, the art, and it’s a massive part of my life, as I either paint, write, or get interrupted by my dogs, reminding me of the real world. I hope you enjoy your time here. It’s such a privilege to have readers.
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7 Responses to Tales from the City- The Samosa Queen

  1. Pseu says:


    and 🙂

  2. crubin says:

    Oh, boy. I should not have read this before I was about to make dinner. Now my meal will look horribly drab next to those lovely Samosas!

  3. earlybird says:

    Yum… piping hot samosas. mmmm!

  4. Here’s a confession, Susan: I would eat that plate of samosas before anyone got to them. At least you shared yours with the Lad!

  5. Cameron says:

    Kate sent me here to be taunted by both samosas and Rolos? She is very cruel. I haven’t a neighbor to make them for me, but the lovely proprietor of the nearest Indian restaurant already thinks we have parties every Saturday based solely on our take-out order. He would very likely cut me off completely if he knew it was just for my husband and I.

  6. Pingback: The Story Circle: Making of the Shrew, Part 3 | Cameron D. Garriepy

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