Tag Archives: Food Disasters

Thought For Food

23 Nov
Potatoes infected with late blight are shrunke...

Image via Wikipedia

I’ve had so much fun chatting with you all about favourite movies and books.  Thanks for your comments and please, keep ’em comin’.  I think I’m going to have to write a separate list for Christmas films, because I left so many out: Home Alone, Home Alone 2, White Christmas, Holiday Inn, Elf….  Check your shelves, folks, because this discussion ain’t over yet.


I don’t know why I come over all apostrophied and colloquial at times.  Must be summat in t’water.


All of this fillum and boo-k talk has allowed me time to recover from my weekend, which was horrendous, in a food sense.  No, ‘horrendous’ is the wrong word, because that implies an out-of-the-ordinary food disaster, and you must know by know that my food disasters are so far from being out-of-the-ordinary that ‘mundane’ is too strong a word for them.

The Hub is a great cook.  His mother was a great cook.  The Hub has taught me many of his mother’s recipes.  Unfortunately for our family, the Hub isn’t well enough to cook anymore; I do it all.  The Hub is still the family’s chief hunter-gatherer, however, and on Saturday he came home with a bag full of raw meat slung across his back (Lidl had 400g of diced beef for £1.49 – bargain!).  I had celery and leeks in my humungous fridge, so I decided to make Ma Hub’s famous Potato Hash. 

We make the hash in a pressure cooker.  That causes a bit of a problem for me, because I’m scared of the pressure cooker.  Once it’s bubbling on the stove I don’t go in the kitchen: I stand at the kitchen door to check the little red lines are not indicating EXPLODE! EXPLODE! EVACUATE THE PREMISES!  Or better yet, I shove one of the kids in and shut the door behind them.  Don’t bother calling child services: Tory Boy ran away two years ago and Spud is stronger than me these days; though I was able to use the most beautiful baby in the world (who is now the most beautiful toddler in the world, his parents being in the family way again).

I was standing at my new sink, peeling potatoes and blotting up water spots, when I spotted through my window TMBTITW bringing his parents for a visit.  They spotted me, too, before I had time to remove my Yentl costume – that’s what the Hub calls me whenever I wear a pinny and head scarf to cook.  So that’s what he calls me every day, really.  It’s either, ‘Oi! Yentl! No disaster today; well done,’ or ‘Oi! You!  Why’ve I got a hair in my soup/sandwich/tin of beans?’  I don’t know why he calls me that, now I come to think of it: Barbra wore a hat and suit.  What a weird bloke my husband is.

I like to consider myself a good hostess, by which I mean that if you come to my house I won’t spill coffee on you and I’ll get out the good biscuits if I like your kids.  TMBTITW and his parents count as best guests – they bring their own entertainment in the form of this little cutie pie:

I'm laughing because I know how beautiful I am


This is him now:

Photo to follow when I remember to ask the Hub to upload one.

Flustered by their unexpected arrival and panicked by their possible ‘yes’ to my ‘Would you like to stay for dinner?’ (I don’t mind serving inedible food to adults but I always try to impress TMBTITW), I bunged everything in the pot and slung it on the stove.  Thank goodness they declined my invite because, instead of Ma Hub’s delicious Potato Hash, what they would have eaten was Ma Dontbake’s unsalted because I forgot to put it in Potato Soup: too much liquid, too little veg.  We had chicken that night.

Next day, in an effort to rescue it, I added boiled potatoes to thicken.  I forgot the salt again but the burned bits add a flavour all their own.  Now I have four reproachful tubs sitting in my freezer knowing they will never be eaten but won’t be thrown away because we don’t waste food in this house.  Anyone hungry?



Lasagne And…Who Cares?

13 Aug

It has not stopped raining for days.  I was worried about Tory Girl’s two-hour drive home yesterday but she was fine.  I’m not so sure her stomach is after three days of eating my food.  I intended to make lasagne for her first day but her sister, not realising that young women in love need to be at their boyfriend’s mum’s house as early as possible on the first day of a visit, had accidentally taken the car keys with her.  I shelved the good food and made us egg and beans on toasty buns instead.  I had to go for the simple meal because nothing was defrosted except the mince for the lasagne…on such trifles does the world that is my own personal horror movie turn.

My original intention was to impress her with my lasagne on its own but you and I both know that was never going to happen, so  I decided to accessorise the meal with a fresh salad and some buns.  You may recall we ate the buns the previous day, under egg and beans.  Not a problem: lasagne, fresh salad and some frozen roast potatoes that my brother had sent with his children and which I had forgotten to use.  So, lasagne, fresh salad and ready-made roast potatoes.  Trouble is, whenever I put on an oven and throw roast potatoes into the mix, my reflex is to include as many cooked vegetables as I have in my freezer, and I had prepared parsnips, green beans, carrots, cauliflower, peas, and sweetcorn before it occurred to me we were supposed to be having salad.  That’s why there were no sprouts, which led to complaints from Spud; but he’s always complaining so I wasn’t listening.

Talking of carrots, they weren’t just any carrots; they weren’t even M&S carrots: they were organic, home-grown in a pot by the Hub carrots – his first crop (apart from the one radish and two spring onions I’ve already eaten).

Don’t be fooled by the excellent photography: once prepared, and without being peeled, the whole lot fit into my gerbil’s hand.  But they were delicious.

So there we were: lasagne, roast potatoes and a thousand vegetables.  Only the lasagne wasn’t quite made…I went to the cupboard while cooking the roux sauce but the cupboard was bare except for three little sheets like these:

I kicked the poor Hub off his sick couch and sent him haste post haste (that is, a sort of painful shuffle, like a tortoise with a walking stick) to the supermarket to buy some lasagne sheets, praying that the roux sauce wouldn’t congeal or my hair go any greyer while he was gone.  I tidied up while I was waiting, and that’s when I noticed the box of lasagne sheets I had already taken from the cupboard with the other ingredients.  Now I had to decide whether to hide that box or risk the Hub’s wrath.  Figuring I was already so wound up that a good row would relieve my overstretched nerves, I flung the truth at him when he got back, only to be disappointed because he simply rolled his eyes at me and heaved his sore bones back to the couch from whence he came.

So: lasagne in the oven; potatoes roasted; vegetables cooked; throw in a bowl of rice at the last minute and everything was ready to serve.  Umm, potatoes look a little dry, not being home-made, so I’ll make a jug of instant gravy. 

When we lived in South Africa I was always begging people to send me British instant gravy but by the time we returned to the UK I had learned how to make it (the Hub is a great cook; and a great teacher when we’re on speaking terms) and didn’t buy it for years, until it occurred to me to have it in as a standby for when I forgot to buy cornflour (for thickening home-made gravy) or for occasions such as these when common sense had gone in the bin with the carrot tops.

Thus it was that Tory Boy spent the whole meal repeating in a squeak, ‘Lasagne…and gravy??‘ and Tory Girl preferred to drive home up a busy motorway in teeming rain rather than face another weird meal.

They were lucky to get any at all: taking the lasagne out of the oven straight to table, the dish was hot even through the gloves and the Hub was in my way; I squealed, a la Road Runner, ‘Meep, meep..moooove!’ at him and he just got out of the way before I threw it on the table.

And you know what?  I was right: the potatoes were dry; lucky we had some gravy to go with it.


You Don’t Have To Cook To Live Here; But It Helps

29 Jan

All that talk of food this morning made me hungry for my breakfast, so I decamped to the kitchen once I’d finished blogging.  Like the Old Woman Who Lived In A Shoe, my cupboard was bare.  And before you pull me up on my mixed nursery rhymes – how much do you think it cost that poor woman to feed all of those children?  She should have spent some of it on contraception years ago and she might have been able to afford at least a boot.

It being Bill Day, the cupboard needs re-stocking so there was no cereal for me and I’m not mad on toast unless it’s accompanied by the hand of the person who made it.  I found two eggs cowering in the fridge, and cower they were right to do: I have invented a new recipe.  Well, not so much ‘invented a new recipe’ as ‘cocked-up an old one.’  Being too eager for food and too lazy to correct my mistakes, I had put away the flour before I should have done and the mixture was way too thin.   I cooked it anyway and the bits that weren’t burnt were really nice, I think.  I had a little trouble flipping the pancakes so I beg you, if you will, to imagine a sort of plaited scrambled egg and you will be as revolted by my breakfast as I was.

Bon appetit!

Dinner Disasters

18 Nov

Meals have been a bit hit and miss this week.  I thought I would use all of the frozen leftovers in the freezer.  The problem was that I hadn’t bothered labelling anything, so I didn’t know what was in the tubs until they defrosted; everything was dirty brown and quite unappetising.  I bagged the lasagne and added a salad, so I was okay; but the other tubs contained homemade vegetable soup, which nobody likes but me; casserole, which nobody likes at all; and some manky-looking mince.  The Hub settled on mince and chips, if he must, rather than waste food; Spud wanted cheese and chips, because he didn’t want mince, lasagne,  casserole or vegetable soup.  Spud ate his cheese before dinner so the Hub forced him to try a mince & chips butty, and he liked it so much he had two.  The Hub, after complaining to me that he doesn’t like garlic in his mince if he’s eating it with chips, wolfed down his meal and then told me it was the tastiest thing he’d had in ages.  I went easy on the lasagne and heavy on the salad with the result that I was starving by seven o’clock. 

Last night we had pies.  Wanting to take advantage of Morrisons’ Christmas voucher offer (spend £40 a week for five weeks and get a £25 gift voucher to spend when you spend another £40…hmm.  Maybe it’s not such a great offer after all), we have started shopping weekly and an hour before closing, because it’s so quick and quiet.  There are also mark-downs to be had, like four pies for 49p instead of £2-odd.  I was feeling unwell all yesterday so the Hub declared it was stand-alone pie night, because preparation is the minute it takes to heat up while the cook is standing in front of the microwave.  Initially, we were having pie, salad and fresh crusty rolls, but I just wanted to go to bed and I couldn’t be bothered.  We opened the pies and they were four flavours we have never bought before.  I heated the pies and cut each one into four, thinking our dinner could be a bit of an adventure, trying new and exciting tastes.  16 pieces of pie ended up in the bin, each as yucky as the other, and we had cereal instead, then I took myself off to bed and wasn’t heard of again, apart from my muttering about the waste of good money and how I could have just made cereal in the first place and been done with it instead of wasting my time with manky pies….

The previous night’s dinner was just as much fun.  I thought we’d have something light.  I decided on healthy tuna and salad with homemade bread (aka ‘sandwiches’), and so I set to with the bread maker.  The measuring utensils were in the dishwasher, halfway through the cycle, so I had to guess the correct amount of yeast, salt & sugar with a teaspoon; the battery in the scales died just as I was weighing out the flour, so I tipped in as much as I thought I might need, but I didn’t know whether it was enough or too much; and I had just poured in all of the ingredients when I realised I had forgotten to insert the kneading paddles.  They tell you to put those in first, and now I know why: it’s not much fun wading through flour paste with only bare hands and a grimace.  Flour tickling my under-nails is the reason I never bake; I hate the feeling.  The bread baked to perfection.  Bizarre.  Maybe I should stop following recipes and just do my own thing.

If my family knew even half of what I get up to in that kitchen they’d never eat anything made by me again, but my problems are not confined to the kitchen: on a train once, I had a packed lunch.  No problems at all with the bread-and-butter, tangerine and water; but, ah, how could I know to expect drama with a plain old hard-boiled egg?  Having peeled it at home to save myself the embarrassment of having to do it on the train, I began to extract it from its plastic bag, when it maliciously hurled itself from my hands and rolled exuberantly along the carriage floor, with me hard in pursuit.  The passengers were pleased with the entertainment; everyone except the businessman who came into the carriage just as the egg reached the door, and trod on it in his expensive leather shoes.  Maybe I should give up eating; it’s like it’s not meant to be.

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