Wednesday 9 June 2010


I can’t cook. Okay, wait, let me rephrase that, it’s not that I can’t, it’s that I have a mental block when it comes to cooking and well, to be honest, I’m just not that good at it. I do try. I can cook a few dishes that I rotate on a monthly basis. Nothing complicated mind you, but it means that we don’t starve and I’m attempting to put food on the table, which I figure has to score me some points around the house. (I also clean like a demon; I mean OCD clean, so I figure if I emphasize that talent, my inability to cook isn't such a glaring failure).

The problem is my interest and patience with cooking comes and goes. It just seems like a lot of effort and time with no guarantee that you’re going to get a good result. From a pragmatic point of view, avoiding it just makes mathematical sense. Then again, sometimes I get inspired - usually after I've seen someone do something that looks oh so simple (yeah, right) and I become downright giddy when I am able to follow a recipe and it comes out edible and not on fire; when I’m on this streak, I have also been known to get adventurous and go off the reservation and try my own combinations – for us amateurs out there, this is NOT advisable. 

This one time I wanted to make miso soup with soba noodles.  Sounds simple, right? That’s what I thought. Somewhere around me not cooking the noodles separately and my decision to use leeks instead of spring onions (I figured they were both green, and in the onion family so what could taste so different) it all went disastrously wrong. My partner so sweetly looked down at the pot of thick grayish swamp water and tried to muster an eager smile, although I could see the fear behind his eyes. After a few bites (the man is so brave) – we both looked at each other and knew that if we continued it would be a fight for the toilet. So as you can see, after about a week of me attempting to be Nigella Lawson, I tiredly slide back into that person that views the kitchen as the place that holds dishes.

The problem is, with how much we’ve progressed in terms of what’s available to eat out there in restaurants, at the supermarkets, health food stores etc., I can’t help but feel like why should I attempt to cook when someone can do it so much better than I can. And trust me, when it comes to finding a variety of healthy, interesting foods that have been made for me, I’m amazing at it. That’s a talent in itself, no? When I share this sentiment with others, I usually receive the response – always from the older female generation - ‘well sweetheart, your partner expects food on the table,’ or ‘it shows him how much you love him when you cook for him.’ To be honest, I think it shows him how much I love him when I do my best to keep him alive and out of the emergency ward. Besides, the man is far from starving, in fact, he makes a mean Thai curry that I’m pretty sure in some parts of the world they would say you could live on; throw in some morning cereal and he’s all set.

Despite my partner's patience and acceptance of my culinary shortcomings, he does have his moments of wishing I was a little more adept; especially after he’s eaten my stock recipe rotation #4 - salad and something grilled (hard to screw that up even for me) for the 85th time; he looks at me worriedly, and cautiously (you don't insult a woman with sharp kitchen utensils around), and asks, 'by the way, what are our kids are going to eat?'.....I look at him and smile with all the charm in the world and say, ‘I don’t know my love, what are you going to make them?’ It shuts him up pretty quickly. 
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