Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Learning to Cook Before the Big Three Oh

Oh, crap. I'm nearly 30, and I'm the same shit cook that I was at 20, slamming whatever into a frying pan and seeing what “meal” emerges from the smoke. I'm still cooking the components of the meal in the wrong order and reheating everything, resulting in the occasional stomach bug. I'm still going to Tesco with no idea what meals I'm going to make with the food I'm buying, and no idea what I've still got in stock at home. Having short-term memory difficulties, like I have, means a simple multi-step task like buying food or cooking a meal becomes a wholly monstrous affair, with the potential to morph from a simple kitchen exercise to a domestic disaster.

When I was 20 I nearly burned down my student digs. I left something on an electric hob that really shouldn't have been there. (okay, I was technically cooking it, but not for consumption.) Cue a small, toxic-fume-filled kitchen and an angry security guard. I was eating chip naans three times a week, but I still lost 3kg through under-eating, and was the lightest I'd been as an adult.

When I was 28 and I'd only moved into my own flat a few months previously, I undercooked some lamb's liver. Let's just say I over-familiarised myself with the toilet. During this time, I possibly forgot to eat some meals. I worked out LOADS. Yet I put 2kg on due to eating cheap, salt-laiden food.

When I look at my life right now, two of my biggest problems are 1) women, or lack of, and 2) cooking skills, or lack of. (Connection? Perhaps. You tell me, girls: If a man can cook, is that a turn-on? I suspect so.) I can't afford cookery classes, and even if I could, my memory difficulties would cause me to drop behind, and I wouldn't get the chance I'd need to practice what had gone wrong. (Oh yeah. Third problem: money.) The Psychology department that helps me with memory says they can't help me with cookery. So I have to do this myself. I can't expect a leg up from anyone else. The only knowledge I have will come from a cookbook I got for my birthday in July, that- typically- got shoved into a kitchen cupboard a few days later, and hasn't been read... until now. So from here on, it's just me and Classics One Step at a Time by Keda Black.

Looking back through my blog you'll notice that I'm fond of my one-month challenges- little exercises I do to improve a particular area of my life in some way. I've been keen to focus on something for a new challenge recently, but couldn't decide what. I miss people too much to do the book-reading challenge again. I couldn't find the resources to binge on scriptwriting. I also have many other challenges and tasks in my life. This week, in fact, I finished clearing out my college portfolios, the last two items that I'd left in my bedroom at my mum's. They've been there since 2001. I kept the best parts- they filled just a couple of Tesco bags. They're now on a shelf in my flat. I am officially totally moved out.

Scary shit.

This cookbook is going to take longer than a month to get to grips with, though, especially as I've only just ordered some scales off the internet. Hopefully each meal won't take more than half an hour to put together. So here's my challenge for the next few months- work my way through this cookbook, one meal at a time. I'll try to find links to the same recipes online, so you can see what I'm doing. I'll buy the ingredients, cook it, eat it, and review it here. If I fuck it up, I'll learn from my mistakes. If I don't, then it must be simple enough for this moron to do. So why not do it with me?

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