Sunday, 2 May 2010
The narked chef
Who thought open-plan kitchens were a good idea? They’re about as practical and friendly on the eye as an open-plan bathroom.
Top of my list of things for a house when I finally make it back up north will be a separate kitchen and living room. Oh for a door! So I can shut off the smells of the bin and burnt toast and the sight of crusty pots and plates. And the sounds.
If anyone can make a meal out of making a meal it is Southern Man. My anti-social shifts mean cooking for one another is a rare event. So, as I’m in the office over Bank Holiday, he has agreed to cook tuna steak with salsa while I relax on the sofa, a metre away, with a glass of wine, emailing recruitment agencies.
Straight away he huffs because he has forgotten to buy peppers. Then he grumbles his way through the chopping (‘This recipe is useless. What shape should I cut the onions?’), and then he swears and strops through the cooking process, glancing up often so he can be sure I am noticing what effort is going into my meal (‘How the hell do you “blacken garlic”? What am I meant to do with this chilli? Why doesn’t it say? Come and look at this! Can you read the recipe again? Where’s the blender? Why didn’t you tell me we didn’t have one? Do we have anything to squeeze limes with? I know it’s burning... The recipe doesn’t tell me anything... Jamie Oliver is a ****... Can you look at this? There’s no space in this kitchen... I’ve burnt my hand! I’m never cooking ever again... It’s a disaster... A waste of money. Oh let’s just eat it and get it over with.’).
My eyes and throat are stinging from the smoke in living room. I open the window so we can breathe. We are sitting in the cold eating, looking at a mound of dirty pans and lime halves on the floor.
‘That recipe was useless,’ he says, shoveling food into his mouth. ‘Did you get anything sent to the agencies?’
I look at him. He looks down at his plate.
‘I’m sorry I wasn’t the perfect chef.’