Cooking is something that’s always evaded me. It all started when I was a small child; timidly, I approached my grandmother (by then, the only culinary virtuoso I’d met and known) and asked her to teach me some of the secrets of the trade. Her reply (accompanied, no doubt, by a cold and cruel laugh) was “learn to clean your room first, then you can learn to cook!” Hurry to clean I did not. My education in the kitchen proceeded accordingly.
The second famous failure came when my younger brother turned seven. I was eight and severely limited in terms of funds, but possessed unrivaled intellectual riches in the form of a Little Princess Encyclopedia, containing a cookery chapter, vital knowledge for a gel. In lieu of a present, I decided to bake the young ‘un a cake; having followed the recipe to the letter, I served a viciously over-sweetened… thing… which glued rigid smiles of appreciation to the faces of everyone present, including some less than immediate relatives who’d come as guests. The cake, which nobody dared brave a second bite of, was the only dessert at that particular party. So much for the concept of DIY gifts.
When we were living in Jerusalem, just the two of us, A. had to leave for a week. That was my first ever time living alone. A. cooked several boxes full of food and put them in the fridge for me. Once that was out, I survived the remaining time on a box of cookies and another one of figs that I’d ventured out of the house to buy. An attempt to make myself lunch resulted in a pot of boiling water spilling on my leg and inducing in me a deep fear of our little gas stove. No, there was no lasting injury, but there was only a handful of times I cooked on that stove afterwards.
Today I was craving something and could not figure out what it was. We started watching Will and Grace and it hit me – pancakes! Nice fluffy ones, like Will makes in every other episode for no apparent reason at all! So I found a recipe online (yeah, I need a recipe to make pancakes, judge me), and we headed to the kitchen to make them. An hour later, the results were as follows: 1) I was hot from the stove; 2) the pancakes were average-tasting; 3) it turned out they were NOT what I had been craving; 4) my new laptop was spattered in batter (thanks A.); 5) I was bored to oblivion. Brilliant.
So the result of this experiment is this: I now realise cooking is not for me. It is as boring as it is messy, and I don’t understand how one can spend an hour making a batch of pancakes when there’s a good novel in the next room. From now on, we’ll be eating out. After all, it’s the recession, one needs to adopt an expensive habit as a counter-measure.