More than adequate

The kitchen is the one room in this house that I would love to put a bloody big bomb in. I don’t care that the result would be the loss of the back of the house. I can’t really say that the loss of the house would be in any way distressing. However, I feel that if I suddenly told the world that I never wanted to bake another cake, make another pie or cook another meal, there would be plenty of volunteers that would lend me their cookers. I love baking and as it happens I have a lot of friends that enjoy the efforts of my labour. For instance, the chocolate cake. I confess, they don’t take more than 20 minutes to whip up and put in the oven and then 15 minutes to ice. They are big enough to serve at least 16 people, and taste really good, even though I confess I find them far to rich for me. The new addition to my repertoire this year has been my brownie cheesecake. A rich brownie base, whipped cheesecake filling and a coating of chocolate that cracks open when cut. It has been so popular that I am now getting requests to make it for friends of friends. I love baking what can I say.

As you bring up the sproglets and meet the spoglet makers you do whatever you can to earn pennies and to help out at school fates. You have the children’s parties and you bake for your growing family. You know how it goes, there’s you, the husband and the daughter, her best friend and her brother, the boy next door that you are babysitting and your sister with her young daughter that just happen to pop in at tea time on a Saturday afternoon. The family grows and they all have birthdays, and their families have birthdays and the friends of friends have birthdays and their…you get the gist. Having made a few cakes for said school fates, parties and extended family I suddenly found myself with a mini industry making birthday cakes, a family and a job to tackle. Something had to go, and although a very lucrative past time I ditch the baking. The problem is, I love cooking, I love seeing the look on a person’s face when they open the box that smells like a chocolate factory and I love to eat. Which is perfect because so does Mark. Sometimes he likes to eat just a bit too much. What I don’t love is being tied to the kitchen sink and the pressure to turn out perfect cakes every day.

Last week I made three cakes. It seems that even though the family has changed and there aren’t as many members any more I am still baking. I also had another request for a cheesecake. “Yes,” I said willingly, “Oh it’s OK I’ll do the whole picnic, it will be easy.”

It will be easy and I will love doing it, but I have sworn my friend to secrecy, she is to tell no one who has made the food. I know her sister and I know her friend and I don’t want my friend’s family to be aware that I love cooking. I don’t want my love to become a chore once again. It took moving away last time before the mini industry closed its door.

I can cook nearly anything, everything that is apart from eggs. I do a mean egg. As in it looks mean and angry and battered and always looks as though it’s out for revenge. I boil the buggers, they are either too hard or still retain some gunky residual translucent embryotic fluid that doesn’t look well. I fry them, well I smash them to bits, leave crunchy shell in for a bit of texture, break the yolk or burn the edges or both. The only way it seems that I can get a perfect egg is to ask Mark to do them for me. But make an omelette, I am the master, make a cake, the maestro, make a frittata, perfect.

How good am I. “Adequate.” No really, the best critic of any woman’s cooking is her boyfriend/husband. It’s true. They are the ones that will let you know if you’re on the right track, and according to Mark, my cooking is always adequate. A three hour cooking spree for a dinner party with Duck in red wine sauce, Mediterranean vegetables and a lemon torte is applauded with “that was adequate.” A 20-minute bung it in the oven out of the freezer is also applauded with the word, “adequate”. In fact, I think I’ve only ever had a “more than adequate,” when I cooked the Steak in Ale Pie and chips. Served with gravy and peas at a dinner with a friend and his brother I made the simplest meal I could think off. The chips and peas came out of the freezer but I lovingly prepared the Pie, even the pastry.

“More than Adequate.”

Now I know that Mark is only trying to wind me up, but there comes a point whereby you just ignore the remarks. I got there and past it, over it, and out the other side. Mark could tell me that my pavlova with raspberries and white chocolate taste like sawdust and I’d ignore him. Whilst seething inside and vowing to never cook another meal for him, not ever. Plotting to chain him to a chair in the dining room whilst I spoon fed his favourite trifle to the dog.

I plan to do a lot of cooking this year, that is apart from the 364 meals, the 300 lunches, the 100 cakes and the odd flapjack. I must have my flapjacks. I’ve written a list, you can’t beat a list. A list of all the meals I would normally cook if I have people over for dinner. Food I cook for family and friends when I go to their houses and food I love to eat. Like the simple mushroom and rice one pot dish that leaves next to no washing up and takes 45 minutes of unattended cooking. I have a point to prove. Apart from the fact that I have found that I only cook fancy when I have friends over or I cook for others, I want to get Mark to say, just once, that my cooking is more than adequate. I would be happy with a “That was nice dear.”

He has until 31st December 2019 to stand up applaud and then tell me how wonderful my cooking is. Either that or there will be a day of reckoning, the dog will be happy and Marks wrists may never recover from the scars.

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