pleasure from sensory stimulation such as taste, smell and touch.’
No, it’s not an extract from some erotic novel, it’s a
characteristic belonging to those sensual beings born under the earth
sign Taurus and I happen to be one of them. We are also said
to enjoy, an over indulgence of food and good wine. If you knew me, you
would say that I have this trait, as my expanding waistline and
rising BMI will confirm.
I read my
astrology chart each day, with a certain amount of scepticism. Nevertheless, it
does mean a lot to me to cook well, and I do appreciate an eclectic
mixture of culinary pleasures. I have my
own explanation as to why I feel so passionate about cooking food
well. As a kid I was used to food that was cooked in one pot, on a
stove, and came under the name of ‘Stovies’.
There were two
reasons why my mother cooked in this way; first being, there were
always a good supply of the main ingredients, potatoes and onions, in
the vegetable rack. Then, by adding in some leftovers, a meal was
created. Secondly, it saved on fuel bills.
“What’s the relevance?” Being, taught to cook using
one pot as I was, I didn't really develop any real talent for
cookery. Therefore, the first time I stepped into the kitchen,
instead of scrumptious delights being created, I produced disasters.
nightmares include, curries made from canned meatballs, lasagna made
with tinned corned beef, oven ready chickens cooked with the bagged
giblets still inside. It wasn’t just
the main meals that I failed in, I tried baking and wondered why my
scones didn’t rise. Only to find out months later, that flour came
in different types.
Finally, when my
idea of creative sweets was jellied doughnuts, topped with whipped
cream and maraschino cherries; it was time to ask myself, “What
the hell am I doing?” The humiliation I put myself through,
putting down these 'great gastronomic debacles' in front of
guests, was painful.
But, I took the
bull by the horns, and taught myself to cook. I followed recipe after
recipe to the finest detail. If I saw something in the supermarket
that I didn’t recognise, I bought it and made sure I found out how
to cook it.
The result is
that many years on, I can safely say I’m an accomplished cook. I do still cook in one pot regularly, because there are fabulous recipes out there.
However, I no longer go about the kitchen, like a bull in a china shop. My
dinner parties are no longer a place of ridicule. Cooking, like writing, is
about hard work and imagination. Importantly for me, cooking food well means I
can share wonderful food experiences with those I care for and love.