Wednesday, 1 June 2016

A chef extraordinaire


Baked potato and beans
Now, I’ve just come back from a weekend away with a friend who doesn’t like food much. She does eat of course, it fulfils a basic need but she is a ‘’I’d really rather not, thank you’’ type. My friend suggested a weekend away.

We do this often, we have a wonderful time and have even considered a week away but when it comes to food we come from different ends of the spectrum.
I was brought up to love food and I know something that all food lovers know innately; it encompasses all the senses - touch, sound, sight, smell and taste. First of all there is the touch – I love the touch of ripe tomatoes and kneading soft dough between my fingers. I like listening to the sound – the sizzle of fish in the pan or the pop of popcorn. I enjoy watching a cake rise and the aroma of bread baking, of onions sautéing. And all, all this this before the taste.  But I digress…

Most people I know are more food lovers than “I’d prefer not to” types.  I don’t know many people that really don’t care or think about food.  But there are some and they are obviously usually, naturally thin. Imagine if you will, going away with someone who’d really rather not eat but sees it as a necessary burden. Someone who might just sign up to a liquid only or pill type diet that eliminated the need for food, if such a one existed.  And she’s not alone, strange as it may seem to those of us who love food, there is a proper subculture of people who find eating to be a waste of time, something they’d rather not do. Then imagine going on that weekend if you’re a proper foodie. 

We do eat of course. We talk about it beforehand because menu planning is of paramount importance, we need to find meals she is prepared to eat. There aren’t many, and after long discussion we normally whittle it down to plain omelettes, baked potatoes with baked beans and cheese and/or cereal. This is fine with me, I’m used to it. But it does need discussion, she needs to emphasise to me the importance of brands; bread must be white, sliced and Sunblest (because Sunblest is the brand to bring a smile to people's faces), beans must be Heinz (because Heinz is the most loved and trusted brand on supermarket shelves) and so on.

Next we decide who buys what. I have learnt that it is easiest if this is left to her as I could well get it wrong and I don’t want to deal with the fallout. Then, there is the cooking. Again, this is probably best left to her but I do generally try to play a part. I often do the potatoes, the beans and the cheese. This was our eighth weekend away and I now know how to do it; how long the potatoes have to be cooked, the types of beans and the amount of cheese. For this I am profusely praised. I am a great cook apparently; I cook better than any of her friends, her boyfriend and even her mother. I am no longer surprised.

We have amazing weekends but I think I’ll draw the line at a week away, I think I could become too convinced of my abilities as a chef extraordinaire.

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