If you’ve had nothing better to do with your time, you may have seen The Lockwood Echo’s new Food & Drink section. A cornucopia of bite-size morsels waiting to be devoured by you, my ravenous reader. (If the metaphors are already proving tedious, you may wish to log off now).
If you are yet to consume this supplementary offering, let this be an introduction for you; an hors d’oeuvre of the main course.
It will be the Hostess Trolley of all things culinary. A veritable buffet of true-life dinnertime disasters, fictional feasts and cookery cock-ups. Nice for them to have a cupboard of their own.
Our very own Madame Charlatan – not only a Teller, but also a Cook of Misfortunes – has many a tale to tell. Please have your Pepto-Bismol to hand for those.
My own food preparation skills are a legend in their own lunchtime, so it’s a joy to be able to serve these up and share my kitchen knowledge for you to avoid at all costs.
As I’m no Fanny Cradock*, please do consult a bona fide chef/cookery book/fire department before embarking on anything you read within those pages. The Lockwood Echo will not be held responsible for any food poisoning/paralysis/apocalypse resulting from an ill-thought out enthusiasm to recreate the stories you find there. Messing with cookers is not for the faint-hearted amateur.
*I would really encourage a read of this Wiki page, whether you are familiar with Ms Cradock or not. It may seem sad for a section entitled ‘Downfall’ to be included, but it’s all too pure and delightfully odd.
And you may be wondering, though I suspect you’re not, what are my personal favourite dishes? Well, we do like a pizza in our house. Usually we’re more than happy to pay someone to bring one to our door or brave the crowds and purchase one from a supermarket freezer cabinet. On occasion, bored with edible pizzas, it’s not unheard of for me to boil my own. I find the most difficult bit (apart from making it a viable food choice) is shaping the base. Round doesn’t really work for me, so I tend to go with my heart and create something free-form in nature. And ‘rhombus’ is pizza as God intended.
If I have a dizzy burst of irrationality, I have been known to bake. Sometimes I even turn our oven on to facilitate this process. You know the song ‘MacArthur Park’? Someone left the cake out in the rain? Yeah. Sorry. That was me. Only way to keep it moist. Didn’t want to serve up a brick. And no-one really likes green icing anyway.
Pretty good at putting together a picnic too. A posh stick of bread and a selection of cheeses. Although I have been known to forget the bread for this two-ingredient combination.
I once made the most divine alcoholic pudding. So colourful, a taste sensation, really boozy and delicious. Okay, so I may have just served up some foil-wrapped chocolate liqueurs in a bowl. But it went down a treat.
My biggest hurdle to cooking is usually the prep and mess. Let’s go back to the creation of that pizza and I’ll walk through the simple task of adding the toppings;
- Apply a thin layer of tomato paste.
- Pause to wash sleeve, so the paste that squirted sideways doesn’t stain.
- Add grated cheese.
- Wash hands, gather purse and keys. Run to shop to buy more cheese.
- Sprinkle over some dried oregano.
- Scrape everything off and start all over again because you’ve picked up the dried mint jar instead.
- Add some basil, cut fresh from the garden.
- Scrape everything off and start all over again because, you know, mint.
- Google basil and mint so you know the difference between how they look so you don’t make the same mistake next time because it wouldn’t occur to you to do something as obvious as SMELL THEM.
- Forget everything you’ve just Googled.
- Add sun-dried tomatoes.
- Take a half hour break to clean up all the oil you’ve just spilled trying to open the jar of sun-dried tomatoes.
- Place finished pizza in oven to bake for 20 minutes.
- After which; turn oven on and bake pizza for 20 minutes.
- Ring partner with the exciting news there is pizza for tea.
- Check oven to see if pizza is nearly cooked.
- Turn off smoke alarm.
- Wait 20 minutes for air to clear enough to see into oven.
- Order new oven.
- Ring partner again to ask him to stop by a shop to purchase pizza.
Fortunately we are the proud owners of a dishwasher to alleviate the stress of the mess. Though it’s not quite big enough to put the cooker in. You will not meet ANYONE as devoted and in love with their dishwasher as me. It’s the height of sophistication and grandness as far as I’m concerned. The most luxurious of luxuries and I’ve wanted one FOREVER. I absolutely detest washing up, so I have been saving up for a dishwasher since I was about four years old. As soon as I was old enough to hold a tea-towel, handed to me by someone with very poor judgement, my piggy bank had but one purpose in life; to buy me a machine to deal with that shit. Due to a variety of previous domestic arrangements and locales, the Dishwasher Dream had eluded me until we finally purchased our own home two years ago. The second we had a moving date, my dishwasher was on order. Having already identified The One, it even moved in before us. So determined was I to have this baby running from the off, I single-handedly researched, purchased parts and executed a joint washing machine/dishwasher plumbing configuration. This miracle box has CHANGED MY LIFE. As I always knew it would. No exaggeration.
I have gathered together a handful of posts to get my Food & Drink section launched. I hope you find something there to satiate your hunger for humour. More will be added if I can find any way of justifying their inclusion. In the meantime, take a look at this compilation of Christmas themed clips from Fanny Cradock’s TV series. If the whole six minutes or so is too much, promise me you will at least see it through to the two minute mark to witness her rather unique method of serving turkey. There is no denying her as one of the inspirations for Madame Charlatan. An approach to food preparation like no other.