In my lifetime, I have been mistress of the wishy-washy brew, server of slippy-sloppy spuds and cooker of crozzled crusts. With my bar set so high it’s no wonder I’m not such a confident cook! Fortunately, my family is small, so there have been fewer folk to complain – not that they really have, they’ve chewed and borne it. But now there is another generation of us, Granny will have to pull her finger out, unearth bowls, spoons and ingredients for the little helpers, and hope a flour fight doesn’t break out!
But wait till my girls hear about Gran’s determined efforts throughout the years, culminating in some proper kitchen catastrophes.
I once dared to serve up beans and Smash to some In-Laws using two packets of said starchy stuff, but only one lot of liquid. While they quietly consumed their synthetic stodge, I hid upstairs in tears!
Since then, I have accidentally grilled a cake; made soup with uncooked brocolli, which my long-suffering husband valiantly slurped down (my lass and me tipped the rest down the sink); scraped woeful mince pies with caved-in sides and leaking lids out of inadequately greased tins; unveiled unrisen Yorkshire Puds, and worse: asking my young daughter what she wanted most out of everything for tea, and proceeding to produce pancakes which turned out to be shrunken strands of batter instead of crispy, golden dinnerplates of deliciousness.
I’m still wondering how I can follow a recipe to the letter and still muck it up. A rare talent.
One of my two grandmas was famous in our family for baking buns and confection of all kinds, and providing good, wholesome meals. The other, sadly, lived on jam bread, pearl barley and Chorley cakes. One time, she fancied some bread and butter pudding, but couldn’t quite remember how to make it. As a perplexed ten-year-old with no other responsible adult handy, I was neither use nor ornament. We buttered some bread, set it in an oven dish with some water, baked it for an hour till we had a mushy mess, then decided we’d gone wrong somewhere. Happily, I have made very passable bread and butter pud since – the proper way, and have even been known to dish up some half-decent dinners.
Even the experts have off-days. I went to Yates’s in Scarborough one birthday, and drank my lasagne, so didn’t feel too bad about my own past disastrophes.
Now then, anyone fancy coming round for tea tonight?