Cookery Lessons

A few days ago I read a news article about how schools no longer doing cookery lessons beyond primary school has affected the cooking skills of an entire generation. As far as I’m concerned, it couldn’t be more true.

I recall the paltry few cookery lessons I had in primary school. They were rather basic, tending to involve cutting nice star shapes in pastry and stuffing them with unhealthy jams, chocolates and other goodies. Mmmm. I can’t even do that now. Isn’t pastry something that comes out of a bag, pre-made?

I try to be as adventurous as I can, but the best I can manage is to boil some pasta and throw in a jar of pasta sauce. Otherwise its pre-packaged, processed foods of some kind. I must be one of the most unhealthy vegetarians going. Everyone assumes I eat lots of fruit and vegetables. People don’t realise that the average crap diet is only slightly less crap after taking out the meat. I’ve never really replaced it with anything but more starchy carbohydrates.

The reason why I’m currently recounting these fascinating facts is that I presently have a rather festering whiff of fat about me. No. It’s not that I’m getting fat. I actually tried to cook earlier. And this wasn’t the first time in the past week.

Shame that my attempts so far have involved cakes, puddings and general sweety goodness. As I said before: mmmm.

A few days ago me and a friend decided to try making this rather outstanding looking chocolate pudding from a book of “vegetarian recipes”. The dessert section was very long, and involved lots of items that didn’t have chocolate in. As a chocolate fiend, that was unacceptable, so the only solution was to make the most unhealty thing there. Essentially, it was a chocolate sponge, with chocolate sauce. The sponge was steamed, the sauce was cooked. The result was a shocking success, despite me never having cooked in this way before.

Buoyed by my apparent discovery of hidden pudding making skills, I decided earlier to try to make Scotch pancakes (drop scones). According to the recipe it was something “even children could make”. Determined not to be outsmarted by this allegedly easy recipe, I set to work.

One thing’s for sure, I’ll bet you children can’t crack an egg without getting bits of eggshell into the mix. I couldn’t. After much fishing, and managing to drop the whisk on the floor, causing a mess that was surprisingly difficult to clear up, I managed to pour some of the mixture into a frying pan. The recipe had instructed me to “grease” the frying pan, so I chucked a load of margarine into it. I thought it was a lot, but given that the first attempt at a Scotch pancake was a disaster, sticking in every place possible, I assumed I needed much more next time.

In went masses of margarine, and even some oil to make it properly liquidy. The fat sizzled, hissed and attacked on several occasions. I turned the temperature up and added some mixture. Then more. And more. Until a giant Scotch pancake formed.

Better still, it was flippable. I turned it over without it falling apart, and a minute or two later, success was achieved. It actually looked like a Scotch pancake I could buy in a shop. Only mine was much greasier. The recipe invited me to add butter, which is also what I would normally do, but, fearing a coronary, I opted to just eat it as is. It. Was. Good.

Now I have a lot of batter left over. I might make some more tomorrow. I’ve been feeling extremely hungry lately, and getting headaches when I hardly ever get them. I’m sure they’re connected.

Meanwhile, my boredom with Hull is almost complete. Perhaps that is why I’m making strange things in the kitchen, to pass the time. I’m going home this Saturday, first thing in the morning. It’s going to be exciting, as I’m going to get up at 3am to sort everything out and then get the hell out of here by 5am. It’ll be good to see the family again. And I love going on trains anyway. It’s something I’ve always liked since I was a kid.

So things are pretty good at the moment. That was, until I decided to try to read “The Selfish Gene” by Richard Dawkins. It’s very interesting, but it requires me to do much thinking while reading. Which almost feels like work.

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