Sunday, 12 October 2008

"So who's nicked me wife?"...

...said the man with grey hair and trendy glasses, who commonly goes by the name of Almost Mr Average.

"I said...who the heck has nicked me wife?" he repeated, thinking I hadn't heard the first time.

But I had heard. I was just on my way back into the kitchen to get a serving spoon for the apple crumble, when the first comment came.

And I smiled...especially when I considered the evidence.

With a home-made sponge pudding for Friday's dessert and Bolognese for yesterday's lunch, followed by some home-made biscuits, he has been rather spoiled. And as for today, there was the home-made tomato soup for lunch, while the kids had the spaghetti version, which they call 'worms-in-mud'.

But I suppose it was the roast chicken dinner, followed by the apple crumble that I whipped up earlier, proved without doubt that the bodysnatchers had paid a visit.

No surprise he's been wondering what's occurring.

I was most definitely having what I call my Stepford Wives moment, where the seemingly perfect wife rises up like a pheonix from the ashes of can't be bovveredus.

You, see. This is how life is. I flit like Jekyll and Hyde when it comes to the kitchen.

I can cook and I can cook really well, but sometimes I just don't have the time to put my mind to it, the inclination to get off my butt, the imagination to whizz up something creative, the patience to follow a recipe or even the strength of mind to cope with my very teeny weeny kitchen, which has about as much workspace as a postage stamp. It feels so cramped it is most definitely the least desirable room in the house, yet it should be the heart of our home.

When I get like this, my inner chef goes AWOL! Yep, packs up the bags and leaves home without notice, leaving me with the capacity to do little more than conjure up anything that simply goes with slices of bread, pasta, cheese and raw vegetables. Desserts go AWOL, along with the chef and Mr A is left wanting...for weeks....and sometimes months on end! Even jacket spuds seem like an effort. And that's how bad it gets!

I convince myself I don't have the time and I make myself even busier. I then persuade myself I'm a crap cook, because I'm not even finding time to tackle the basics and eventually it needs the force of an army to get me back into the kitchen for any longer than 10 minutes.

But here I sit tonight, feeling like I have fed an army, fed them well and at very little cost (even the free-range-chicken was an end-of-day buy off yesterday's market for just £2) and the best thing is I've also got leftovers in the fridge ready to use-up this week. I'll add the remains of the tomato soup to the bolognese and throw in some chillis for tomorrow's lunch.. I'll mix up some custard and chop in the sponge pudding for dessert, perhaps with some pureed apple. I've also portioned out the leftover crumble into individual ramekin dishes for dessert on Tuesday. Now that feels posh!

And I shouldn't forget the chicken stock that's currently simmering on the hob, which can be whizzed up into a delicious soup with the chicken leftovers. Geez, I might even fall over myself with excitement and freeze it for later in the week!

So hooray, at last the Stepford Wife is back and I'm back to my ready-steady-cook self, enjoying myself in my very own experimental kitchen, just bunging in whatever I have to come up with some love jubbly delights. What's great is that this perfect wifey will be hanging about for a while, because that's what generally happens before she disappears in a puff again!

I wish I could bottle up the secret to guarantee her future return. It might mean that I could just snap my fingers in the future and get that wifey back in the kitchen cooking up a fantastic frenzy, when all else goes glum.

I don't know why this domestic demon returns. It might have something to do with the seasons. I love autumn and I love the puddings that accompany the transition into winter...It could even be that we're at home more,now that Mr A has finished his latest Open University stretch (yes it does seem like he's imprisoned in the world of study, when it's all going on)...It could also be that I've been given two huge bags full of cooking apples...

Or it might have been that I've talked myself back into my frivolous culinary ways while writing the latest chapter, provisionally called Can't Cook, Won't Cook. When I headlined all the excuses for not cooking from scratch, I realised that I was actually looking at a portrait of myself. And for each excuse, I produced many a reason to overcome estranged relations with the mixing bowl and oven.

So perhaps I shocked myself back into the kitchen.

Wahay! Well I'm so glad I did! So maybe that's the secret to getting the Stepford Wife back, to keep reading what I wrote. Ha ha! If it works for me, it'll hopefully work for others, because surely I can't be the only one who's trapped in this schizophrenic madness when it comes to cuisine!

I guess time will tell. In the meantime, I'll mention another reason for Mr A's relief.

His anniversary surprise on Friday was a home-made Cornish Pastie, with the aim of conjuring up memories from many a holiday spent in far flung Cornwall.

It wasn't quite what we both expected.

The pastry was as dry as stale bread and the filling was like chewing old socks. So it was just a bloody good job we had a whole bottle of champers to wash the experience down.

So that'll teach me for trying out new things on important occasions. The funny thing is on this occasion, I even stuck to a recipe. Now that's what I call sod's law!

[BTW - to see what surprise he got from the recycling bin, I've put an update on Friday's anniversary post. LOL]


Strawberry Jam Anne said...

Know exactly how you feel Mrs A. I tend to be a bit like that in the kitchen - feast or famine (sorry about the pun). In fact I do keep the freezer stocked with main dishes and good old Bob does veg etc to go with them! This is for when I am doing other things and time is of the essence. I do love to cook, bake etc and prefer to be "her in charge" in the kitchen.

Loved Mr A's anniversary present - Bob and I said no presents this year too - hmmm!

A x

katyboo1 said...

I have exactly the same thing. My problem is that when I am in 'good cook' mode I freeze things and then I have this habit of not bothering ever to defrost any of it. It hangs about getting freezer burn for several months until I eventually throw it away. I really need to work on it.
Well done you. I should have come round to your house for tea on Sunday. We had sandwiches!

Mrs Green said...

:D sounds like you are in a fine space, Mrs A - your creations sound wonderful and put me to shame with my limp, mouldy things adorning the fridge at the moment.

LOVED Mr A's present too, that was really beautiful. Something to be treasured always. :D

Mrs G x


Hi Anne - glad it's most definitely not just me. It is great being in charge in the kitchen though isn't it, that's when you finally make it in there. ;-D x

Hi Katyboo - Oh I share your freezer glut! After I did the thing with Woman's Hour earlier in the year, there was a message on the messageboard from an old guy saying, doesn't she know how to use a freezer. Ha ha...the answer to that must be NO, I don't! If it goes in the freezer, it means it's on already dead and buried but I'm paying electricity to keep it temporarily alive - am getting a bit better though. Hope your sandwiches were good though ;-D x

Hi Mrs G - I have my weeks, as you know and I also have my equal shame of the mouldy veggie bits that hang about in the salad drawer. I'll have to come over to your place to confess later this week ;-D x

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