When Dee asked me to comment on her Foodie blog, I got the shudders. I love food but all the romance is gone if I have to cook it.
As a kid, my back yard was enormous and my Dad provided all our vegetables for all seasons. The mulberry tree was a permanent fixture staining our mouths, clothes and feet. Many fond memories of my golden Labrador, Gus, holding down the branches so I could collect the mulberries for Mum’s world famous mulberry pie with fresh cream.
I was the youngest of 7 and had 3 older sisters who enjoyed cooking with Mum and 3 older brothers who tended lawns and the gardens with Dad. Alas cooking never came naturally to me. I did, however, collect the vegies and pottered around the garden, eating tomatoes, shallots, and carrots and everything I could. It was a mad backyard over run by pumpkin vines, potatoes, chokos, and passionfruit vines. Then there was Dad’s well-crafted vegie garden with organised rows of companion plantings taking advantage of full sun. Yum – so fresh, so seasonal and so flavoursome. And plenty for our guinea pigs and assorted menagerie over the years.
I should let you know, I am a stickler for recipe ingredients. Carefully measuring accordingly and definitely no idea about substituting or estimating.
I’m sure everyone has their culinary disaster story but am I the only one who has several? My husband Jon and daughter Grace are very patient and perceptive people and know to wait a few hours sometimes a few days before commenting on my not-so-memorable recipes. In my defence, there has been no cases of hospitalisation or ambulance interference. Jon has a great knack for self-triage. I guess it is because he has suffered my cooking since 1984.
There was the pumpkin soup recipe including flour. What the? Big note to self – Don’t use wholemeal flour or any flour for that matter. If it was a little bit thicker it would have been a pumpkin slice. And another note to self – Don’t lift the blender out of the pot till it is switched off. Bad soup and 2 hours scrubbing kitchen ceiling, cupboards and walls.
Ahh memories of the double sponge for Jon’s birthday. Recipe included half teaspoon of bi-carb soda and half teaspoon cream of tartar. Not in my pantry? Such small amounts won’t be missed. So I managed to make a pair of rubber thongs shaped like frisbees. Very durable but perfectly inedible.
My poor niece was feeling poorly one day and was having a lie down on my couch. What a good aunt I am to cheer her up with Betty Crocker’s chocolate brownie. Can’t go wrong with a packet mix! Or can I? In my haste to surprise her with the fragrant aroma of baking wafting from the kitchen, I misread and added 3 cups of oil instead of 1/3 cup of oil. There were only 3 ingredients and I managed to stuff up one of them.
So while disposing of slop into several plastic bags and switching off the oven and washing up the bowls and equipment, poor Sarah wakes to ask – “What are you up to? “ To which I replied “Nothing absolutely nothing.” “Would you like some tea and a biscuit?” God bless Arnotts.