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Cooking, Cretins, and Crew Cuts

Since beginning to work from home, I have started cooking on particular nights of the week. In past years I’ve been happy to wash up, and leave cooking to my other half. She’s better at it than me – as evidenced by something our eldest daughter once said:

“When I look in the cupboard, I don’t see anything – when you look in the cupboard, you can somehow just ‘rustle something up'”.

My cooking skills are decidedly basic – Spaghetti bolognese, chilli, fry ups, and roast dinner at a stretch. I can’t really include cooking pizza on that list, can I – supermarket pizzas are kind of ready-meals, aren’t they.

We had chilli tonight. While cooking it, it struck me that I have reduced it down to a recipe where I don’t have to measure anything. One entire bag of soya based mince (other half is vegetarian), two tins of chopped tomatoes, a large onion, a large carrot, a tin of kidney beans, a chilli, and a pepper. It all gets cooked off in a huge wok, and then simmers while the rice cooks in the steamer. It takes about forty minutes from start to finish, and feeds a family of five with leftovers for the next day for less than the price of one large pizza from Dominoes.

The entire family clean-plated tonight.

I sometimes feel bad for my other half – she cooks amazing things, and it seems there is often a direct correlation between how long they took to make, and how likely it is that the younger children will push it around the plate, and ask “what’s this?” with an uncertain look on their face. For years we joked that when our middle girl remarked “hmm – this is nice!”, it meant she wasn’t going to eat any more of whatever it was. Ever.

Two of my daughters are coeliac – one diagnosed by doctors, the other diagnosed by us. On the whole it doesn’t really impact us too much. Sure, they can’t eat anything with wheat in, but then it’s not such a huge deal any more to find good gluten free bread. Most of our meals tend to be “meat and two veg” style home cooking anyway. It’s funny – in a strange sort of way having to think about ingredients has probably caused us to cook far more meals at home than most families. It’s incredibly rare that we buy ready-meals, or go out to eat.

I’m not entirely sure how some families can afford to eat out as often as they seem to. For the couples that have no children, it makes total sense – but for families with two or more kids – it’s a mystery. How do they afford the new cars, the meals, the holidays, and so on? I’m not sure I’ll ever work it out. That being said, we have a house full of books, sports kit, hobbies, activities… it often looks like we’ve been burgled. Perhaps we just spend our money all-year-round, which explains why we don’t have a flash car, or go skiing.

Last weekend I had to pick up my middle daughter from a hockey match, and arrived half an hour early – so stood at the back of the other parents and watched the game. I don’t think I’ve ever been quite so perplexed. The main conversation taking place among the parents seemed to be how frustrated they were about not being able to go skiing – and how they were fed up of coronavirus restrictions, and how they didn’t listen to the government any more.

It struck me how horrendous some people are.

In other news, I just clippered all my hair off again. My eldest daughter neatened up the bits I missed (after laughing at me for the appropriate amount of time).

By Jonathan

Developer, Writer, Runner

One reply on “Cooking, Cretins, and Crew Cuts”

I share your daughters’ affliction, and consider it a blessing in disguise. We almost never go out to eat. The food is better at home, healthy and easy, without the risk. (And the one restaurant we occasionally frequented, that had gluten free food, closed permanently, because of Covid.) There’s a good bit of savings in having food issues. We also cut each other’s hair–no laughing allowed. Our life style is quiet, busy, and as long as we don’t run out of books, we’ll be fine.

Liked by 1 person

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