Words: Katie Burnetts
Growing up, it was tough having a dad who couldn’t cook anything more complex than burnt cheese on toast. Which is why when I hooked up with my kitchen beast of a boyfriend [he buys locally sourced ingredients and can wreck a kitchen in 8 seconds] I couldn’t help but boast to everyone, like some loved-up sycophant, about his kitchen skills. Finally, a man who can appreciate how much work goes into a pasta bake and why the kitchen should always be spotless – or so I thought.
Three and a half lurpack-filled years later, the kitchen and I aren’t as close as we used to be. Although, if I really wanted to, I could glue myself to its walls using their natural dairy/pork adhesive which, might I add, was not always there.
The plain fact is I don’t get to cook anymore. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever been in our kitchen other than to clean it [not the walls].
What I think happened was, after gobbling down countless pasta bakes, which he said he enjoyed but coerced me on several occasions into adding more ingredients to, my boyfriend became disenchanted by the lovely bakes and kept prodding me into whipping up more adventurous cuisine.
Cue Macaroni cheese phase, which became my next staple dish and one I excelled at enormously. But there are only so many cheeses one can put in a mac n’ cheese. Plus, Waitrose put their really nice cheeses on a shelf I can’t reach. So it was only a matter of time until someone with better cooking expertise removed me from the kitchen and wiped the ‘Kitty’s Specials’ board clean (with my lucky tea-towel). And that person was my love.
‘I have a right to be here’ I said strolling into the kitchen one evening when I was feeling particularly brash, to which he replied ‘can you crush the garlic? I hate the way it makes my hands smell.’ I crushed the garlic because he says I’m good at it and I like doing things I do well in front of him. But in my head, I was saying – ‘Back the fuck up metro-kid and let mummy back in!’
I’ve since worked out why my impish desire to get back in the kitchen is falling on deaf ears. As if pitching to a dragon, I must pitch dish proposals to this man; the dish must have a name, a history, a page number, and preferably a Michelin star chef’s testament to its value. But this isn’t just some paper bottomed business plan. This is dinner.
And can I be bothered to do all that? No way man.
So basically, I can’t just bosh out a meal like I used to. Like my mother used to. And, yes, it was disorganised as hell and nobody knew what things were called but they just tasted nice and that was enough for us to go to sleep on and live another day forgodssake!
I have allowed myself to be intimidated by the technical approach of my boyfriend and subsequently I have lost my voice in the WFF [Worldwide Forum of Food]. So I have come to a conclusion.
I have decided that the best thing for me to do, is carry on being fed delicious meals slaved over by the man I love until he sees how fat I’m getting. Then I shall take over again. I shall resume with a bake. And then I will attempt more complex things; like lasagne.