Tuesday, October 25, 2005

A Careless Cook

I am a careless cook. Really. I am the girl who gets drunk at her own dinner party and serves a cake for dessert - flourless orange and coconut - all the while merrily forgetting to put the eggs in. An entire table of people will happily eat this disaster warm with cream and it is only in the morning when I taste the cooled cake that its egglessness becomes obvious. You know, when there's no flour in a cake, you really can't go leaving out another ingredient. Not eggs anyway.

And yet, I am bewildered by how many people find me intimidating, culinarily speaking. A dear friend told me recently "Oh, I couldn't have you over for dinner. I'd be too embarrassed to cook for you." I was stunned. The last time I'd entertained this friend, it had been an assembly job afternoon tea - fresh berries, double cream and a shop-bought chocolate cake. I didn't make a thing. Since the Plumbaby arrived in our world, my cooking has simplified as a matter of necessity - I don't have the time for elaborate creations or all day cooking-fests. But somehow, the stigma is still attached to me.

If only these people knew the truth. Take this morning for example. I looked at the loaf of white bread on the kitchen counter and thought "no, I must eat something healthier than that". So I got out the chopping board and diced some onion and zucchinis. I sauteed the onions and then added the zucchini for a quick fry. Then (I have a VERY low boredom threshold) I wandered off to check some sites and only went back to the kitchen when I smelled burning. My wonderful mix of golden onions and green zucchinis was unsalvagable.

So I sat down and had a bowl of icecream for breakfast.

Do you see what I'm saying here?


At 12:05 PM, Blogger Niki said...

*SNORT*. Brilliant! I think we can all identify. I stuff up the majority of my recipes, and leave a trail of slops around the kitchen. I wouldn't intimidate anyone, but some friends need to get this into their head!

At 1:15 PM, Blogger Kalyn said...

I have had lots of friends say similar things to me, which is sad because I'd love to go to their houses for dinner. I would not be critical either, just happy to have dinner with them.

At 2:50 PM, Blogger cin said...

Hehe - ice cream for breakfast - I LOVE it!

Yep, I burn stuff all the time and I can't even boil rice properly so that it's light & fluffy - how much easier could it be??? I guess it's being willing to experiment with cuisines & loving to cook :-)

At 7:34 PM, Blogger Zarah Maria said...

LOL! I know just what you're saying and can definitely relate! Lately I've started to worry that if or when I cook for people, they won't think it's "sophisticated" enough, or wrapped in enough mystery, or that I don't keep the tabletops clean enough... When all I should be concentrating on is making the darn meal, maybe chatting to them meanwhile and not about what they think about how I make it! And I've experienced the "Oh no, I couldn't cook for you!" too - people, calm down! I've made loads of mistakes, and it really hasn't stopped yet! Seized, melted chocolate, after having melted chocolate in the microwave for 4 years? Check! Bread that wouldn't rise? Check! Burnt bacon? I think so! Thanks for a funny read!

At 8:59 PM, Blogger plum said...

Hi Niki, I find it hard to believe you "stuff up the majority" of your recipes, given the wonderful photos I've seen on your site, but if I say it about myself, I must try to believe it's true about others!

Hi Kalyn - I know exactly what you mean. I was crushed by what this friend said, because all I wanted was to see HER - I wasn't fussed about what we ate.

Hi Cin - yes I think we intrepid explorers get a rep we don't quite deserve! And didn't you get The Seductions of Rice recently?? Stephanie Alexander swears by her rice cooker - if it's good enough for her, it's good enough for me!

Hi Zarah Maria - you're welcome. And the last dinner I hosted made me think that I need to slow down and concentrate less on the food. I was running around frantically so that dinner would be great, but I think I would have been a better host to be able to sit down with my friends when they arrived, instead of doing my lunatic-in-the=kitchen routine! Maybe I'll reform next time!

At 9:08 PM, Blogger cin said...

you're absolutely right, i did get the book but i haven't tried any of the recipes yet! I have a microwave rice cooker, not the trditional tabletop ones and my rice is always gluggy or too dry. :-(

At 7:59 PM, Blogger Niki said...

Oh, but I do! I'm such a haphazard, impatient cook who can't follow a recipe to save myself, and my family and bf are used to me having to apologise for things not being quite right. They may photograph well, but you never know what they might be hiding, or what shortcuts I made to get to the end!

At 12:33 AM, Anonymous Melissa said...

Hi Plum, I understand where you're coming from! People never want to cook for me, it's so frustrating sometimes! And about forgetting things in the kitchen, I went through a period of about three months when every time I tried to toast nuts in the oven I would wander off and forget about them and they would blacken to cinders. My husband finally made the rule that I'm not allowed out of the kitchen until I remove them from the oven - but even when I'm in there I STILL forget about them!

At 8:05 AM, Anonymous Barbara said...

I wander off from the kitchen and burn food often. I've often thoujht about designing a timer on a string I could put around my neck.

At 11:20 PM, Blogger plum said...

Hi Cin - I bought some rice from DJs the other day and it was amazing - the most fluffy separate grain stuff I've ever cooked! But at twice the price, I don't think it'll become a regular around here!

Hi Niki - I'll start looking more closely at your photos to see what's really going on!

Hi Melissa - I find toasting nuts so frustrating! They go from undercooked to burnt in a flash! I can't even count how many times I've done that and yes, also when I'm in the kitchen.

Hi Barbara - I bet I'd just ignore a timer like that. Our microwave sends out these bossy reminders ever so often that I've left something in it and I just tune it out!

At 11:33 AM, Anonymous Sian said...

Hi Plum,
I know the feeling - I have had friends say the same thing to me and I don't think I'm that great a cook... But a dinner party isn't just about the food - it's about the friendship and fun!
Your orange and coconut cake sounds fantastic (even without the eggs). Could you pass the recipe on to us?

At 4:46 PM, Blogger Ange said...

Can totally relate to you, quite often i have elaborate plans for presentation & little extras though when the time is ready to put into action i have had a couple of wines & couldnt care less! My friends dont seem to mind & understand that as long as we're having fun the rest isnt really that important, lifes too short too be too stuffy when entertaining!

At 4:27 PM, Blogger T said...

HAHA! You are hilarious.

PS. Im loving your blog- all this talk about chocolate is making me hungry!


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