Thursday, 3 March 2011

The Ballad of Stew Girl

I enjoy collecting those recipe cards and free magazines from supermarkets. Waitrose obviously have the best, but Tesco have the most. I have finally sorted them out, by which I mean secreting them all into a shiny pink folder in no particular order. I have many, many more stored at my parents' house.
I have no idea why I bother to collect them since I only ever seem to cook the same five meals. These meals are:
Sausage and Mash
Bacon and Lentil Stew/Cassoulet
Roast Chicken (usually stuffed)
Vegetable Curry
Chilli con Carne
If I can't decide what to cook, I look at my recipe cards and pick something similar to one of those five dishes. Occasionally I will add a different vegetable, or an unusual side, but it does get a bit samey. It's probably because my favourite sort of cooking is something that takes half an hour to prep, and then can be left in the oven or on the hob for at least an hour without any attention. I learned to cook risotto but it requires so much stirring! I love cottage pie but that requires at least 2 saucepans! I love cake but my goodness, the fuss involved! I taught myself how to cook sushi (without all the fiddly little mats or special equipment) but the rolls kept getting bigger and bigger as I got more and more irritated by the time it took...
I keep trying to expand my repertoire but I keep getting short tempered at my complicated food. It probably doesn't help that when I do use a recipe, I read through it once and then try to muddle through, guessing wildly where the butternut squash ought to go and how much garlic to use (it's always a lot). Now that I'm working in a food shop, I keep bringing home stray ingredients and trying to insert them where they aren't wanted. Beetroot especially, since I haven't bothered to check how you cook it or what with. I have been boiling it until it goes a little yellow (yellow beetroot can still give you pink wee, btw) then either frying it or eating it with noodles. It's really tasty but it could be tastier if I were a more thoughtful cook.
I need a cooking partner to help me blossom like a delicate flower, but I only have my two housemates, who we shall call 'Toast Boy' and 'Use Every Pan In The House Girl' in order to both preserve their anonymity and explain why we cannot collaborate. My boyfriend we shall call 'Fry It To Death Lad.' To be fair, I hate to have anyone near me when I'm cooking. I will just have to train myself to work harder and stop boiling everything into nutritious grey mush.

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