Let me start by saying I’m a huge fan of Delia, Nigella and the Berry. I’m an avid viewer of Bake Off and the proud owner of hundreds of cookbooks. I trained in the hotel industry and worked for a couple of years as a sous chef and housekeeper, so I think it’s safe to assume that I know my sausages. What I’m not is a domestic goddess.
Quite how one can be so incompetent is beyond me. The children and I play the game “Guess what mummy made” on an almost daily basis.
When I worked as breakfast chef in the hotel they regularly had to evacuate because I’d set the fire alarms off. I’m only little so my chef hat was at grill height. I’d lean forward to bring out the tray of bacon, the hat would catch fire and I’d be running about the kitchen trying to put the thing out with my tea towel.
I was a bit of a liability at the hotel, to be honest. Once I was put in charge of making the Christmas puddings. We had an enormous old stainless steel mixing bowl with a plug-hole leading to a bucket, don’t ask me why. I poured in the extremely expensive mix of fruit and alcohol and had forgotten to put the plug in. Hundreds of pounds of brandy and fruit were slowly creeping down the plug hole and onto the floor. I’d forgotten the bucket too! Have you ever tried to capture liquid pudding mix in your hands and apron while a very exasperated chef berates you from above. No? You haven’t lived.
They also made me prepare venison on Christmas day. I’ll never forget sitting on top of the flour bin, because I wasn’t quite tall enough to reach the worktop, crying while I chopped up Rudolph.
When I was much younger and able to pull off these things, I once set fire to a crop top I was wearing. I leant over the cooker at home to turn off my baked beans and my top caught fire. I flapped at the flames with a dish cloth until my dad rushed in and hurled the washing up bowl at me. I ducked, like any sane person would do, as he hadn’t emptied it of dishes, knives and saucepans. The flames were extinguished eventually when mum rolled me on the lino.
Later in life I joined the Women’s Rural Institute. Each month there was a competition, sometimes your favourite pencil (I kid you not!) and once it was to make the tastiest truffle. Like a sensible gal I headed to Thorntons and bought some. Rather than completely cheat, I melted them down in the microwave and re-rolled them so I could enter in good faith that they had been sort of home-made. Cheaters never prosper as they say and I didn’t win. Mind you I think the judges were slightly biased as I once entered an Easter Bonnet competition, there were three entrants, and I didn’t even get 3rd!
As you can see, I think it’s fair to say I’m less Cordon Bleu than Cordon Bleugh!
It’s not just cooking that I’m challenged by. It’s washing, housework, ironing, gardening and diy too.
I regularly shrink things in the wash. The children know if they have anything of value they send it to nanny’s to get dealt with. I’ve dropped the iron I don’t know how many times, I’m always singeing the carpet and fusing the house. Last week I unblocked the kitchen sink by unscrewing the plughole, while the sink was full of water. The whole lot flooded the cupboard underneath, the doors blew open and we were up to our ankles in sweetcorn and fairy liquid.
There’s weetabix on the wall in the sitting room that I can’t chisel off, my hallway looks like Miss Haversham’s, I had a hole in the roof (but that’s now fixed) and spiders bonking on my bedroom ceiling.
The house, a little like me, is looking very tired and threadbare and in need of some tender loving care. So, as part of ‘Project Me‘ I’ve decided I need to improve my domestic goddess status. I need to get to grips with the house, the cooking and the garden.
So, Teen 2 is clearing out everything broken, unloved or unwanted. I’m making a list of jobs that need doing and I’m slowly, funds permitting, organising to get them done.
A friends dad is coming to paint the outside of the house. The drains have been sorted. The garden is easy. I’m allergic to everything green so an extremely lovely friend is coming to sort it for me so all I will have to do is cut the grass. I’ve bought myself a tool box and am looking online at guidance before tackling any DIY jobs so I don’t make things worse. I’ve gaffer taped the broom handle to my tickling stick so I can reach the cobwebs and Teen 1 and Teen 2 are on spider watch for capture and release rescue missions.
As for the cooking, salad comes in a bag pre-prepared right? I think we’ll live on that. One thing at a time, after all, Rome wasn’t built in a day.