Cooking. Most people either passionately love it or passionately hate it, but unless we are squillionaires with personal chef’s out the wazoo or unlimited take away budgets then at some point we will get sick of raman noodles and jam sandwiches and simply have to learn how to cook with actual food in order to survive.
I remember my food tech teacher in high school telling us to keep our recipe books at the end of year 9 as ‘statistically at least one of you will leave home in the next two years and you just might need them”. “Ha!” I thought as I threw mine ceremoniously into the bin and “Damn!” I thought when I left home 12 months later.
You can probably guess from the negative energy surrounding that paragraph that I don’t exactly fall into the Martha Stuartesque passionate wannabe chef category.
Generally if we meet someone special then we like to pretend that we know our way around a kitchen at least a little bit, alas hubby was a flatmate before he was a boyfriend so he knew my passionate distaste for the culinary arts long before I could fool him. In fact when we were renovating our old house, my beloved (who is a Joiner by trade) suggested rather than building me a new kitchen he should simply give me a giant phone so that I could order take away. Pah!
Sadly the take-away option was itself taken away from me when we decided to move out to a one pub town in the bush an hours drive from anything resembling fast food. That’s not entirely fair, we do have a servo that doubles as a shop (and a post office… and a mechanic workshop) if you want to pay $5 for a soggy reheated pie or sausage roll (+70c for sauce).
The food at the old pub is ok, but it’s gold plated and dine in option only, but since the publicans aren’t big on kids and I have four of them we eat there about once every 5 years.
If like some of my friends you have a partner who simply loves whipping up ‘cordon bleu’, ‘beef bourguignon’ or some other fancy foreign sounding delicacy for you every night or hell, even once a week then fuck you! put a ring on it immediately!
In my household despite my misgivings I am sadly still the cook, unfortunately when I procreated the law obliged me to feed my spawn more nutritious meals than I was used to making and I wasn’t happy about it. I think the main issue is that I completely suck at it, like burn water suck at it. You know that joke that says you know dinner’s ready because the smoke alarm goes off? Well I eventually had to pull the smoke alarms right out of my ceiling. Another dinner, another kitchen fire…
When you are forced to do something you suck at every. Single. Day. And simply don’t get any better at it, well it’s not exactly a recipe (pardon the pun) for happiness. In fact my lack of enthusiasm rivals that of Lunch Lady Doris from the Simpsons but with less cigarette ash to add the flavour that my dishes are apparently severely lacking.
You see, in my defence, I don’t eat 99% of what I cook for the family due to that pesky eating disorder of mine so I don’t really know how much salt/pepper/turmeric/eye of newt I need to add to make it less “tomatoey” or give it some “zhang” and the stuff I am willing to sample myself is usually flatly refused by my offspring.
Anything that could contain a vegetable or a derivative of a vegetable gets scrutinized within an inch of its life by Miss 8 (she can’t find her shoes but will spot a 1mm piece of onion in anything!) Mr 15 hates spicy stuff, Mr 14 hates textures (like all of them) and Mr 11 HATES mushrooms and accuses me of putting them in everything!
But aside from the constant complaints and mushroom paranoia, the thing that irks me the most – and prompted the writing of this post/rant today is that my beloved Hubby is ONLY EVER LATE HOME on days when I have actually pulled my finger out and created something more culinarily delightful than pouring a jar over some frozen vegetables and half cooked pasta.
This means that on the odd occasion I finally do dish up perfectly cooked steak with smooth ‘Diane’ sauce and fresh vegetables steamed ‘just right’, by the time he comes home and has re-heated it in the microwave he gets rubbery steak, lumpy sauce and soggy broccolini.
It drives me freaking crazy and does nothing for the motivation!
At the frustration of all my friends I now have a really big nice ‘chef’s’ kitchen, with three ovens, huge walk in butlers pantry, Lazy Susan’s in my corner cupboards to neatly place my pots and pans which is completely wasted on me. I did get into the cooking thing once, I was rather manic and as such had recently purchased a Thermomix. I spent about 6 continuous weeks baking up a storm, profiteroles, layer cakes, quiches and risottos all from scratch. Feel like lemon meringue pie at 3am?
Sadly as soon as that mania ended so did my new found *amazing ability and my desire to create, but at least I got my **Thermomix out of it, they might cost a bomb but they are great for lazy people who get distracted easily and want to make a risotto but don’t want to stand there and stir it. I have honestly used it every single day since I got it 7 years ago.
Cooking up a storm in the kitchen also comes at a price for the family, in our household the kids have to pitch in with the clean up, the tears and tantrums associated with washing 1,000,000 pots, pans and utensils you never knew you had can make you question just how important vegetables are for growing bodies – and we own a dishwasher!
So for now my Thermomix curries and heat up pre-packaged frozen goods might not be the most exciting meals, but they keep everybody fed. Although, now that Mr 15 has started doing cooking classes at school and likes to brag about what an “AMAZING” cook he is “MUCH better than Mum” I might just have to start making him prove himself at home, say dinner every Monday night darling?
* My ‘Amazing ability’ may have purely been delusions of grandeur…
** This post is not sponsored by Thermomix, however if they want to throw a freebie my way…
Do you LOVE or HATE cooking?
How on earth DO you stop things being too ‘tomatoey’?