My Mum just called and asked what I’m up to.
‘Baking some biscuits,’ I said.
There was a stunned silence.
‘Sorry, wrong number’ she said and hung up.
Yes, I am cooking.
If you want to know why that statement deserves its own public announcement please feel free to read on… 😉
Once upon a time, a very long time ago, I decided to have a dinner party.
I didn’t really know much about cooking but honestly, how hard could it possibly be?
I looked for a simple recipe. Being not much into details I just looked at the heading. ‘Beef Stroganof ‘or ‘Wellington’ or something I think it was called.
That sounded simple enough.
Besides details, I am also not much into following instructions so, by the time I started cooking I realised:
a) I was missing half of the ingredients (I had beef- what more could you need?) and;
b) my decision to creatively interpret the bossy instructions with all of the pedantic little measurements, meant that I had overlooked the critical fact that the dish had to slow cook for hours….and there were hungry people on the doorstep.
My guests were polite but there was no hiding a disaster of this magnitude.
We gave the inedible gloop to the dog (who gave it one sniff and left the building) and I poured everyone copious amounts of alcohol and handed out bowls of emergency peanuts in the vain hope that my guests would forget we had not eaten main course and believe it was in fact, dessert time.
I was pretty confident with the dessert. It was something I had actually made once before and it only had three instructions. Foolproof.
I served it out proudly.
The deathly sound of silence confused me. It looked delicious and I had actually self-disciplined myself and followed my three instructions to the letter. (Cross my heart!)
Have you ever noticed that caster sugar and salt look pretty much identical?
They don’t taste the same when you put them in a lemon meringue pie though.
Feel free to try it sometime and see…
In desperation I went to the local salmonella shop and bought the only takeaway they had left- four dodgy old hot dogs and two unidentifiable objects that were purported to have once been meat pies and had been sitting in the pie warmer all day.
The dog left those on the lawn too.
That was pretty much it for me.
I was left with severe PTCD (Post Traumatic Cooking Disorder.)
In the following years I would hyperventilate with fear whenever I had to cook something for other people.
The thought of hungry visitors scared the bejeesus out of me. The dish I became famous for was “BBQ Shapes and Beer.”
This week, out of the blue, something miraculous happened.
I decided to cook…just because……following a recipe!!!…
I chose a healthy biscuit recipe and made a special trip to the shop where I bought everything on the list. (All of it- even a thing called a spatula!!)
I proudly sat my ingredient collection on the kitchen bench and marveled at my own daring.
I checked off the entire list of components. Talk about being organized. Woo hoo!
This was so exciting!
I began confidently: Heat the oven to 180 degrees- check.
Line tray with baking paper- check. On a roll!
Combine ingredients in food processor.
WTF is a food processor?? What do they even look like?
I looked hopefully in the gadget cupboard. There was a toastie thing with a spider in it and an apple corer. Bloody fuck.
I had a wooden spoon and Grandma’s old egg beaters from the 1930’s?
FYI egg beaters do not successfully mash up chick peas (told you it was a healthy recipe) but a 1920’s potato masher made of fencing wire does. (If you don’t own a 1920’s fencing-wire-potato-masher I highly recommend you get yourself one.)
By now the “Five Minute” recipe I’d torn out of a waiting room magazine had taken over an hour and earned me a new set of biceps.
Anyway, now I’m sitting here waiting for them to cook….
It said 10 minutes… (So far it’s been 25 minutes and they still fall apart when I poke them!! Are you supposed to poke them??)
But they do look and smell sort of biscuitish…(but are they supposed to go hard or what?? Poke. Poke)
It says “Cook until golden brown….”(They were brown lumps when I put them in so how do I tell?!! How do you define “golden brown”?)
Okay, it’s been 30 minutes and I have second degree burns on my tongue from my taste test…(Chocolate chips melt- owwww!)
Bugger it, they’re out of there, ready or not… I’ve watched too many of my cooking attempts self-combust to risk this any further…