Anyone I have ever cooked for will tell you that I can cook.
But….I will let you in on a little secret……I can’t cook, I don’t really know how.
What I do have a knack for is knowing how certain flavours will combine and a basic understanding of how to apply heat to food to make it edible. The combination of these two skills makes it so that I can fool people into thinking I can cook.
To add to the illusion I have a set of high end cookware, and a very very expensive, very very sharp Wusthof Chef’s knife. I was going to buy more Wusthofs but I was very suddenly and unexpectedly laid off, and people who are unemployed really shouldn’t go around buying $125 paring knives.
Don’t get me wrong, for years I believed the lie and thought that I was a great cook.
People coveted dinner invites from me, my colleagues here always looked forward to what I would bring to pot lucks (there are always requests for my Curry Chili). Last time I stopped by a sushi restaurant and picked up a Maki Platter….the potluck was on the same day I was moving.
So, what happened that caused me to realize that I can’t cook? Gordon Ramsey. Master Chef was humbling….although I’m sure in a culinary challenge I could kick the “Beer Cheese Soup” guy’s ass, watching what some these amateur chefs could do was humbling. But what really did it was Hell’s Kitchen.
All this “ready in 3 minutes chef” stuff….I don’t know how long it takes to cook meat…I just throw it on and take it off when it looks right. I figure, if I was a contestant on Hell’s Kitchen here’s how my night on the meat station would be (based on my method for barbequing steak).
- The order would come in, and I would throw the steak on. I would season it, then open up my timer on my iPhone and set it for 2 minutes.
- I would play Angry Birds until the 2 minutes was up and then flip the steaks
- I would then set the timer for 3 minutes and go back to playing Angry Birds
- At the 3 minute mark I would poke at the steak and frown, and then flip it and set my timer for 2 minutes
- I might do that again 2 minutes later, or, if I’m hungry I’ll just take it off and go eat (I like my steaks rare, so this method works well for me)
- …oh wait, I’m cooking for someone else
At this point Gordon would be going “Dear oh dear oh dear” before getting in my face and calling me a Donkey. I would thank him for this because we all know that donkey’s are hard working beasts who are sure footed and capable of carrying very heavy loads up steep mountain trails whilst I am out of breath after just typing that.
I really like Hell’s Kitchen. I have noticed a trend where if you tend to cause drama and friction you last a lot longer. Take Elise in the current season. The woman is a train wreck, but she’s fun to watch…same thing with the blonde girl with the glasses in the last season. They are hilarious and I’m sure they’re good for viewership (and that’s what its all about right?).
You know….something just occurred to me…
Why is it that most of the older male chefs who compete seem to be comic relief (Raj for instance…).
Oh…here is the recipe for my Curry Chili (its not really a recipe as I start with a concept and just add stuff)… the original was a throw together with what I had in the kitchen….
About a lb of lean ground beef and a lb of bacon
a pint of cherry or grape tomatoes
a large can of baked beans
celery,onion, portobello (or cremini) mushrooms.
carrots (if you remember to buy them)
rosemary, oregano, black pepper, salt, paprika to taste
Curry….a fair bit
Throw in a slow cooker for about 12 hours, stirring occasionally (while awake). Then pack into a gym bag (the slow cooker…don’t empty the chili into the gym bag) and take to work.
Find a plug and plug in slow cooker and set to warm.
Then linger in the foyer of the IT department and wait for Jenn to bring her her bacon wrapped stuffing balls. Wait for her to plug in her slow cooker and leave. Steal some of the stuffing balls and dash to your office before she catches you.
Oh yeah….when you plug your slow cooker in at the office…take it out of the gym bag first.