Back at the Burners

April 16, 2007 at 3:10 am (Uncategorized)

I’ve finally got my cooking boots back on. I don’t really know what happened last year, but I lost interest in cooking in 2006. It was strange, a foreign experience for me, but it really had a hold over my inclinations, or specifically the lack thereof. I almost completely stopped cooking for pleasure. I largely stopped taking on chef duties on the occasions when Llew and I did have people over for dinner. I stepped away from the gas. But now I feel like cooking again, out of the blue and for no apparent reason. The urge is back, and I’m glad.

Food is extremely important in our house. Llew and I both love food, and we both love cooking. Usually. Sometimes we’re quite competitive, too – Llew’s signature dish is chilli crab, and it irks me, on some petty level, that it’s the dish our place has most become known for. Llew’s annual chilli crab nights. “When’s chilli crab night?” people will say. “Haven’t been over for chilli crab in a while,” say others. And I think to myself, scowling, “Well that’s just bloody typical, isn’t it? Llew always puts his hand up for the big ticket crowd pleasers, and I’m the schlepp who’s left cooking the day to day meals and cleaning up after his crab carnival.” Yes, I’ve felt resentful. As great as it is being married to someone who loves cooking and food as much as I do, I have felt resentful about Llew’s profile as a cook exceeding my own among our friends. But then, I’m a competitive person. And I like to cook too. And damn it (insert foot stamp), I’m not bad either. Honest.

Llew and I also make completely different food, which keeps life interesting and our diet quite varied. I’m the Euro food contingent, and Llew’s the Asian part of the equation. I love making French and Italian food, and Llew’s a whiz with the Thai and, increasingly, Japanese cuisine. We both do Indian. And whilst I do take on the weeknight cooking for the most part, we both love having dinner parties. There’s something extremely fulfilling about sharing our love of food with the people in our lives. Few things bring us so much pleasure.

So it was disconcerting when I lost the urge, and it’s no small relief now it’s back. As I spent Saturday preparing for a dinner party with some dear friends, I realised I’d missed it a lot. It was good to be back, and there was a lot of satisfaction in chopping, peeling, slicing, simmering, folding, whipping. Along with other nibblies when people arrived, I served a herb and rocket pesto, so green fresh and garlicky from having been made just an hour beforehand. Then there was a zesty mushroom soup with thyme and feta. Then individual beef Wellingtons with a red wine jus, roast carrots and blanched beans. Then toasted pound cake with balsamic strawberries and vanilla icecream. It was good. It felt great to be cooking again. Okay, so it wasn’t chilli crab, but then, that’s Llew’s dish, and he can always cook that next time.

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2 Comments

  1. Sarah said,

    Good?!!! Good just doesn’t cut it – it was awesome! I was stinging for that left-over Wellington all day Sunday – nothing was doing the trick. Welcome back! x

  2. doctordi said,

    Thanks, Sar, and thanks for the wonderful wine, too! Yum, yum pig’s bum. Llew snaffled the leftover Wellington – no surprises there. Here’s to the dinner party season being officially OPEN for business!

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