Friday’s child is loving and giving,

A pinch of this and a splash of that

My mother taught me to cook, it all started with breakfasts. We used to have eggs a lot and every now and again I was put in charge of the egg poacher or was allowed to scramble the eggs. It was always served with hot toast which meant that I had to learn about timing to make sure it all came out at the same time.

In middle school I was one of a small group that did home economics, breaking the gender stereotyping and producing some half edible food in the process. Eventually I left home and had to fend for myself. By then I knew the basics so I did have to survive on canteen food and sandwiches like a number of my friends. Mum sent me a folder of simple recipes which were a great help. They were along the lines of one million ways to prepare mince, and how to roast chicken. They helped me no end, without them my diet would have probably regressed to endless baked potatoes. I like baked potatoes but not every day.

I’m not that good at cooking meat; I put this down to living with a vegetarian for many years. I just lost the habit of preparing meat and I didn’t have the practice. On the other hand I can create a lot of meals without meat and I’m not constrained to the idea of meat and two veg.  Even after I stopped living with the vegetarian I never really got into the habit of cooking meat. Mince, of course is not real meat.

I started baking bread after being spoilt by continental bread for many years. After that the supermarket bread in this country didn’t appeal. I was amazed at how easy to was to make. From baking bread I moved on to cakes and buns. I’ve never managed to master pastry making though, I would love to be able to serve up pies and tarts but until I understand how to work pastry that is not going to happen.

The thing I like about cooking is being able to make something, be it a loaf or a plate of food, there is a result that can be appreciated at the end of the process. Sometimes the result is “interesting” but that is how I learn for next time. The real problem with cooking is the eating. Left to my own devices I would make far too much and then eat it all. This would have disastrous consequences for my health and general well being. This is why I have to limit my forages into the world of chemistry for hungry people and make use of my freezer as soon as whatever I have created is cool.