Smirking From Home

Turning ideas into words.

Mince and Potatoes

Is Atychiphobia an irrational state of mind? Whether it is or isn’t is not the focus of this post today. As much as I love to bullshit as much as the next man, I am not in possession of a psychology degree. Reading peoples’ minds is a one way ticket to insanity if you ask me. It’s bad enough having your own demons to contend with without trying to help someone realise they’re not the lovechild of Michael Jackson and Bubbles. I’ll apologise now for that rash moment of flippancy in the full understanding that I know the practice of delving in to the human mind is more complex and demanding than that.
When it comes to cooking I admit to being a little atychiphobic though. When you leave the relative safety of your own comfort zone everyone has the fear of failure in some small shape or form. It’s only natural. The common belief is that leaving ones’ comfort zone helps one develop as a human being. The element of risk involved, the discovery of hidden talent and the joys of having created something you didn’t think was possible for you to achieve. This is evolution in one of its’ most common states. That and co-operating with other life forms as opposed to eating them.
I’m lucky enough to be married to a lady for whom preparing quality food is as natural as Eric Morecambe’s comic timing. There’s little she cannot turn a hand to in the kitchen and for that I am extremely grateful. Every once and again I’ll be in charge of the dinner and that’s where the fear kicks in. All of a sudden the simplest task becomes a matter of life and food poisoning. My corner of cooking calmness is mince and potatoes. Simple, effective and completely devoid of stress. Most of the time. I can prepare mince and spuds with my eyes virtually shut but even then I’m always afraid it’ll not turn out right. The mince will be too chewy or the gravy too lumpy. Even though you are generally at the mercy of the quality of potato, there’s still the chance that I’ll bugger up the mash. You can have all the fancy meats and sauces you want but producing pure, delumptious mash is a gift handed down from the Gods. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise about cooking the family dinner. If the mash disappears up the left, you’ll end up experiencing a texture close to chewing underpants full of porridge.
Thankfully I generally like to think I’m more successful than not. A fear of failure even in the simplest dish provokes furious concentration. Every now and then I’ll swipe Jamie’s magic torch and disappear off into the culinary unknown. Usually it’s in an attempt to concoct a tasty dessert, a meringue based mulch of some sort. I get the creeps even thinking about making a meringue and yet I’ll persist in the vain hope that one day I’ll get it right. Nigella’s meringues are a personal favourite but even she cannot rescue this hopeless cook. My most recent attempts ended with copious dollops of unsweetened language and in the bin. Cheese and feckin’ biscuits it was that Sunday afternoon.
It’s hard really to conclusively point a finger at the crux of the issue. Methinks I like the idea of cooking something special for the family and guests but without the realisation that’s it’s best left to the expert. The wonderful notion of people worshipping at the foot of my Eton Mess remains firmly in the background of remote possibility. I should really stick to vacuuming the mat.

February 15, 2010 - Posted by | I Am What I Am | ,

1 Comment »

  1. […] The majority of ye will also know that it helps make a damn fine cheesecake as well.   One of my earliest blog entries described my apparent ineptitude in the kitchen. I’ll admit to being a little disingenuous in […]

    Pingback by Cheesecake « Smirking From Home | April 12, 2010 | Reply

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