Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Cooking - cordon bleh style

Cole - my apprentice.

Cooking - cordon bleh style
21 August 2012
I really find it most odd.  Despite religiously feeding my family every day, at the dawn of each new day, they’re hungry again.  It seems that cooking, meal planning and shopping for food is never ending.  Are they ever finally going to reach a saturation point?  Or will I be expected to feed them for aeons and aeons on end, into the foreseeable future as well?  I wish that it was something that had an end point. That I could one day say, okay it’s done now.  But sadly this is not to be.
Apparently there are lurkers amongst us – a select few who enjoy the process of feeding their families.  People who get joy from cooking.  People who put loads of time into meal planning and preparation.  People who don’t do what I like to call “emergency meals”.  People who when they follow a recipe, add every single ingredient.  Even the ones that nobody’s ever heard of before.  My theory, is if it’s something I’ve never heard of before, and only small quantities are required, it’s obviously not essential.  Which perhaps explains why my ventures into creating new, exciting meals are not all that successful.  I happily substitute or omit ingredients altogether.  If the recipe asks for freshly squeezed lime juice, including a teaspoon of lime zest, I am quite capable of adding a bit of Lecol lemon juice, and grating a bit of the peel of the naartjie that I’m eating.  What’s the diffs???  Well, apparently quite a lot.

So here’s my theory.  If you’re too good at something, you dig a hole for yourself.  Which is probably why when my friends have a get-together and everyone contributes, I’m always the one that gets asked to bring rolls or bread.  Not much damage to be done there, I suppose. 
But perhaps I’m selling myself a bit short.  What I do cook, I do really well, or at least I’d like to think so.  Nobody can match my gravy.  I make an awesome Spaghetti Bolognaise and a variety of pasta dishes.  I can whip up a fantastic roast whatever, with all of the trimmings.  I make a mouth-watering potato bake.  My lamb curry is to kill for.  I can make a few magnificent soups and stews.  My boontjie bredie is, without being too facetious, heavenly.  My chicken broccoli bake is astounding, as is my chicken a la king.  And my kids love my Mexican food as well as my Beef Chow Mein.  Without fail, every weekend I make Pancakes, Flap Jacks or Waffles for breakfast.  So, basically I do have a repertoire of sorts, but it’s limited.
In fact, I can actually do the whole catering thing.  However, it simply takes me ages, I get a bit stressed out and I don’t have a lot of confidence at all.  I have an amazing ability to make even the simplest of tasks appear complicated and time consuming.  Another one of my time honoured tricks in order to avoid cooking, is to cook in large portions.  Nothing more special than left overs and the prospect of not cooking on a particular night, because there is a monster pot of Al Fredo pasta left over from the previous night to devour.
Amazingly enough, in comparison to a few people I know, I’m practically Gordon Ramsay.  Whoever would have guessed?   A good friend of mine does not cook at all.  As in zero, zilch, zippo - no can bloody do.  When her domestic worker goes on leave every year, she ensures that the freezer is filled to the brim with her home cooked meals.  This very same friend of mine is the heir apparent of her father and brother’s KFC empire.  And damn, I really wish I was her.  Just imagine the endless supply of Zinger Wings that she has access to?  Another friend who shall not be mentioned, says her husband turns pale whenever she suggests lightening his load by cooking for them.  Apparently he would rather risk starvation than putting something she has prepared over his lips (perhaps I should have tried this tactic). 

However, if the good Lord, really intended for me to be a phenomenal chef, why would he have created KFC?  Or MacDonalds, Steers, Pizza, heck take-aways and restaurants in general?  Surely there is a message here somewhere?  My culinary flaws are partially due to the fact that I’m not an adventurous eater.  My pallet is way too “discerning” and only likes familiar foods.  Also is it really a co-incidence that I can wax lyrical about fruit?  I can live on a diet of fruit and salads alone.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love meat, and starches, but I know that if I was stranded on a deserted island, I’d be able to eat and indeed flourish from fresh fruits alone.  Does anyone else see the pattern here?  Food that does not require any cooking…
Personally, I think that toast is perfectly nutritious.  And as it involves applying heat and changing the texture and colour of the raw product, namely bread, it definitely qualifies as cooking.  Surely I can serve that to the hungry hounds for breakfast, lunch and supper?  And should I feel like stretching the boundaries a little, I might even give them some butter for their toast -  as long as they spread it themselves. 

1 comment:

  1. Just what I need as we head into another day of being told I am to sick to go to school tomorrow dad!