Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Friday, 29 August 2008

Rawlplugs and curried eggs

While waiting for my wife to retire I did freelance journalism and cooked five Monday - Friday evening meals a week. But not the cooking Plutarch and Lucy regale their readers with. No touch-of-oregano moments. This was deterministic, alles im Ordnung cuisine run on DIY rules.

I created a repertoire: fourteen dishes in sequence so we ate each twice a month. For two years! Rule two: no deviation from the recipe. My wife made a casual suggestion for soup (two leeks, two carrots, two sticks of celery, stock from two Maggi Pot au Feu cubes, heated, blended) and that became the immutable – and only – prescription. A dangerous tactic since those stock cubes were only available in France at the time.

I ran into trouble. In converting a roux into white sauce I risked a nervous breakdown – every time. The possibility of lumps was the spectral equivalent of Original Sin. As a result my first four lasagnes were short of the interstitial white stuff. “Make more than you could ever imagine using,” I told myself even though it deviated from what was written.

The corned-beef hash called for allspice, a name that worried me. Was “all” everything or just one? An honour system required me to eschew curry powder and mix turmeric with all the rest. With widely varying results.

Just before my wife resumed her rightful position I added undesignated shrimps to the mashed potato of the fish pie. My only bid for improvisation. I am now retired twice over.

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