So I’ve been married for about eight months now. Everyone’s finally got over the whole, “are you settling in okay?” routine, and they’ve finally gotten used to the idea of us acting as one social unit. Now everyone’s favourite question seems to be “How’s your kitchen going?” This question is almost universally directed at my wife, which I rather resent. I’m not sure whether it’s the flagrant implication that I’m some sort of patronising, patriarchal loser, or if it’s the casual (if coincidentally valid) assumption that I’m completely useless in the kitchen. Because as a modern man, it’s important for me to publicly acknowledge that when it comes ot the culinary arts, my wife is every bit as useless as I am.

 

Okay. Useless is probably too harsh a word for it. We’ve both got, I guess, two, maybe two and a half meals that we’ve got down pat. Between the two of us that’s generally enough to get us through the week without too many repeats. And who cares if we’re not great in the kitchen. There are other rooms in the house in which we excel.

Like the laundry. I have got the washing machine settings figured out. Sometimes while I’m waiting for my leftovers to heat up, I’ll flip a load through just casually. No big deal, I’ll set a spin cycle off in no time, and then sprint back to the kitchen in a panic to make sure the whole bench top hasn’t atomically destabilised in my attempt to boil a saucepan full of water.

My speciality is a dish I like to call chicken surprise, which is packet beef ravioli boiled up with salami, olives, corn and maybe some jalapenos if I have them around, served with seafood sauce, chilli sauce and grated cheese. Hey scoff all you like, but that sucker has all five food groups represented, can be made with random bits of whatever’s in the fridge and is almost impossible to burn.

A Surprised Chicken

And yes, it can be made from stuff around my kitchen. Not like the stuff made by those smarmy gits on the cooking shows, who tell you at the top of the section that they’re going to make a quick easy dessert from items found in the kitchen. I suppose I should be grateful they’re not making it out of items found in the garage, but all the same, it’s not any kitchen I’ve ever inhabited.

“We’re just going to take the flange off a couple of quail eggs, throw in some zanziwomp, some yak milk and a dash of squirrel sugar. Probably some coriander too. And now if I tilt my oddly shaped saucepan sideways while I hit it with this metal stick we can see it’s all floozled nicely there. Garnish with some ostracised ginger dust and there you have it. A delightful strawberry meringue, ready to eat."

No. That would take me at least an hour and seven tries before I even got the thing to sit right in the pan. And if that wasn’t bad enough, it’s not just celebrity chefs who are better than me. Now we have to have reality TV shows where eight couples team up over seven weeks to demonstrate how normal people are also a lot better than me.

Yeah well, reality my foot. In the reality I live in no one judges my cooking, at least not to my face. They’d certainly have grounds to, but if I’m feeding people they tend to just take it, eat, and pretend to enjoy it. There’s none of this

“Well, your presentation was alright, but to be honest, the mango salad was a little bit burned, the plum sauce tasted a bit too strongly of vegemite, so we’re going to have to kick you out of the kitchen”.

I’d like to pitch my own reality TV show where I’m presented with a kitchen full of utensils and ingredients, I cook up whatever I can manage in an hour and then serve it to the hosts. While they eat it, I judge them on their table manners, and ask the most pretentious one to leave the house. I’d also like to pitch one where we take 16 B or C list celebrities, strand them on a desert island, and then leave. The ratings would be terrible, but it would be an extremely rewarding project.

The point is, I don’t have any of that stuff in my kitchen. I don’t know what half of it even is. You know what I have? A hotplate, a saucepan, a knife and a big plastic spoon. Because when it comes down to it, that’s all you need.

I’m always getting in trouble for not eating enough salad. I’m never eating enough salad. I‘m forever pointing out that there’s tomato in my spaghetti, lettuce in my hamburgers and capsicum on my pizza. These are all vegetables. But no. They’re the wrong vegetables. They have to be green. Lettuce is green. No. They have to be organic. They’re freaking tomatoes. What are they? Synthetic vegetables? No, latest research has shown you need to be taking regular serving of organomalaric seaweed to have any hope of staying healthy enough to gain the approval of … anyone. Never heard of organomalaric seaweed? Oh dear. That’s okay, it’s your lucky day. I happen to have some here that I can sell you, at a fantastic introductory price.

But it’s okay. Kim’s found a way around it. She’s introduced me to the culinary marvel that is the taco salad. It’s basically a taco without the taco. You just get all the stuff that you would normally put in a taco, but instead of wrapping it in a tortilla, you just put it in a bowl, eat it with a fork and call it a salad. And it’s Google and Wikipedia approved, which means when my mum calls up and asks if eating enough salad, I can, with perfectly clear conscience, say “yep.”

Totally a Real Thing

Taco salad. I’m currently actively developing a new secret recipe, which I’m going to call barbeque chicken pizza salad. It’s like a pizza, except… well yes, it basically is a pizza. But you put it in a bowl and eat it with a fork and call it a salad.

And there you have it. A quick and easy internet recipe, ready to eat.

Make of that what you will.

 

Garry with 2 Rs

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