It is on rare occasions that I will turn to Don and say “why don’t you sort out dinner tonight?” or even rarer say “I would love for you to cook me dinner tonight!”. And when I do, it’s usually on a Sunday (when I’ve been at work and he hasn’t), I’m tired and I’m in the mood for a spaghetti bolognase, which minus the incident where he dropped the whole box of Maldon sea salt into sauce, he’s remarkably good at making. Of course the other reason that I allow him too cook on a Sunday is because I’m generally not around on a Sunday and it has become apparent over the course of our relationship that the two of us in the kitchen are less than compatible. For one thing, Don doesn’t like to follow recipes and he likes to “experiment”, a word, which when uttered from his smirking lips as he mischeviously waggles his fingers in the air, make my blood boil. I’ve always found it rather fascinating that a man who has a very successful career in consulting ie: telling other what they’re doing wrong and how to fix it, can’t read the fine print- for example: “Don, that says 1 tsp chilli powder not 10.” It’s not that I’m a bad teacher but for me the kitchen is a place of combined calm and order and Don’s just not an complying student.
Don cooking is like a child with a free spirit. Essentially, he ignores some of the most basic rules of cooking – like don’t sweat onions on a high heat or preheat the oven before you try to bake the cake. The first time he cooked for me he made pea soup (green) for starter and thai green curry soup- it was a green soup theme and one that he thought was rather clever. At the time, I was a culinary student having it drilled into me how important it was to mix up colours, tastes and textures from course to course and found it was all rather sweet, if ignorant. The honeymoon period quickly ended though and when Don and I moved in together and I discovered that the free spirit extended far beyond the menu planning and experimenting (smirk, waggle waggle) and also left the kitchen in a state of complete and utter devastation. I did not know that an individual could be capable of such destruction and abuse whilst happily marvelling his own inner genius and breathing like he was at an Ashram.
It is on this note, with which I now feel that I can appropriately defend my concerns when Don called me at work this past Sunday asking “what ingredients in the cupboard can I use?”
“what are you cooking?”
“flapjack-type-thingys-hey, do we have any coconut?”
Of course, it was on this one particular occasion that Don really did show off his inner genius and when I came home and he said “you might want to prepare yourself before you open the fridge for a feeling of complete insubordination and inadequacy”
“really?” I said, smirking.
I opened the fridge and low and behold were the most beautiful “flapjack-type-thingys” topped lavishly with nuts and chocolates and were it not for the fact that the sun had gone down I would have photographed them immediately. Of course, we all know that looks can be deceiving and so I obviously had to taste them- and yes, I had a moment of complete inadequacy. The kitchen however remained in a state of turmoil- so I did have something to complain about.