DELICIOUSLY SIMPLE AND
Summertime recreational cooking (often using only one pan) can profit from traditional techniques used by professional seafarers, airmen, bush whackers and arctic explorers.
Small yachts and pleasure cruisers, inshore fishing boats, woodland cabins, tundra campsites and unscheduled flights in older long-range ex-military aeroplanes—all these environments often call for simple, down-to-earth, cooking techniques. In this way limited galley space, tiny cook-tents and tipsy-topsy oil-drum kitchen stoves can be the source of gourmet food— fully able to satisfy vigourous appetites sharpened by outdoor activities.
In fact, some of these dishes can be so well-appreciated in the wild outdoors and on the storm-tossed ocean, that they are often carried back into the heart of pampered civilisation by many a traveller returning home to a well-appointed suburban ranch house or condominium. Because many of these simple cooking techniques, especially with domestic embellishments conveniently available, can be applied to advantage even amid the luxury of modern high-tech kitchens.
For example: consider the simplicity of cooking meals for three or four people using only a single-pan. Just one main cooking pot usually means shorter preparation time, less bother cleaning up, and increased energy savings. This economy of utensils, combined with a deftness in cooking procedures, practised in the domestic at-home environment may not only earn the respect of marital partners and casual friends but for the chef bring back nostalgic memories of many an outdoor hunting, fishing or exploration trip.
So here we go. A medley of simple recipes and cuisine-related observations gathered on trips ranging between the equatorial and the high Arctic. Most of the ingredients are common enough, though some may apply to special regions and require a visit to an ethnic specialty store.
First of all make sure your single pan is large enough for the cooking job at hand. Use as big a pan as is practical for handling. You might as well. It's usually as easy to wash a large pan as a small pan (it's also usually as easy to wash a large plate as a small one).
Many recipes call for meat of some kind to be browned as a first step. In keeping with today's health-conscious world, a good quality olive oil will do this job well. You don't need expensive extra-virgin or extra-light olive oils—these are made more for dressing salads rather than cooking. If your tastes, appetite and outlook on life tend to a more vigorous wilderness viewpoint, then it is fundamentally apparent that beef should be browned in beef fat, chicken in chicken fat, fish in fish fat and so on. Apart from browning the meat, most dishes also require the sautéing of chopped onions, peppers, carrots, parsnips and other cut up vegetables. These impart essential flavours to stews, curries, ragouts, etc.
How does one carry out these two very important steps in proper sequence when using only one pan within the limited space of a small boat or patrol aircraft? The trick is to get the already browned meat (step 1) on top of the as yet uncooked vegetable mixture (step 2) without using another unheated utensil or plate. This is done by pushing all the browned meat pieces to one side of the pan, piling it up high into a mound if need be. Then in the newly vacant half of the pan’s bottom surface the chopped onion or vegetables may be piled up . Then carefully flatten the top of the onion pile. Now, using a spatula and fork, start picking up the meat pieces closest to the meat-onion interface and pile them on top of the onions. As space is thus cleared the meat on top of the onion pile can be pushed down with the spatula which in turn will spread out the onions underneath to continually take up the emerging available space. At the end of the operation all the onions or vegetables are neatly underneath and cooking while the already browned meat is on top, keeping hot.
After this is done it is simple to add the other ingredients and liquids commonly called for by the recipe in hand.
One dish suited to this technique is:
The Iraqi cooks, or bhandaris, aboard the Basra Port Directorate vessels, sixty years ago or more, used to call this: Kofta curry.
It's a very simple dish to make. For the actual curry it is truly a one-pan dish in essence but it actually takes another pan to cook the rice. Yes, I know that means we’re using two -pans for a one-pan cooking procedure (and what’s more in the first recipe offered) but that’s how the world turns, sometimes. So just forget this little blip and let’s get on. Ok?
To start just roll up ground beef meat balls averaging one-inch in diameter. Brown them in either a large frying pan (preferably of a semi-wok design—with high walls but a wide flat bottom) or a largish saucepan. If fastidious pour away the excess beef fat, then add a generous amount of chopped onions and when all is nicely fried sprinkle in one or two tea-or-tablespoonfuls of good curry powder. Even better, use a good dollop of real curry paste. The potency and richness of the curry powder or paste seems to be enhanced if it is also fried lightly alongside the other ingredients at this stage. Now add the juice of a lemon, or just cut off half a whole lemon, remove the pips, and drop it in as is—it can be fished out later after the curry has simmered for a while. Then pour in a pint or so of beef stock or gravy—a can of beef bouillon is fine—or, if really pressed, just plain water. Put the lid on the pan and simmer.
In an hour or two it will be ready to serve. It will also be ready to serve in several hours. Or tomorrow. Or next week. Or even the week after that. Because curries, not only keep well with due care, but always become tastier with age. For this reason it's always a good idea to make the curry a day or two ahead, then cool it off for reheating later. The curry spice mixture is an age-old preservative so refrigerated curries really will last perfectly for a week or more. Frozen curries will be ok for celebrating next New Year’s Eve. Or even the one after.
Optional add ins to a curry can be crushed chillies or chilli powder, But it is worth remembering that to be really good, curry does not necessarily have to be very hot. So go easy on the chillies, or even give them a miss entirely. Instead make some special hot side dishes for any luncheon companions who feel they need extra spicing up. Apple pieces, florets of cauliflower are other favourite ingredients. Some people are addicted to adding small potatoes. Parsnips especially are excellent additions as they delicately sweeten even the most fearsome of curries. But make sure you use a genuine Indian curry paste. These are widely available in these multicultural days, with some of the best made by pukka Indian specialty companies in England.
The curry is served on individual plates or bowls on top of a mound of fluffy boiled rice. To get really fluffy rice use good, clean, unprocessed rice. Pour the amount required of the dry rice into a steel colander and pick it over discarding any discoloured grains. Then rinse it in cold water and drop into boiling water. Use a wooden spoon to stir it around (the wood will not steal any heat from the water).
Stir the rice from time to time, keeping the water at a steady, low boil and the lid partly off. To get the rice fluffed up rinse it in a colander with hot water immediately after it has finished cooking and then place in a low oven to dry a little. It will fluff up beautifully and separate nicely. Use a metal strainer for rinsing so that it can safely be put, full of rice, and standing on a plate, in the oven to dry for a few minutes.
If you think this is all too much bother just to cook a mound of rice, then forget it. You’re quite right. Just buy a box of Uncle Ben’s (or some such) whole wheat rice. It works fine. And if you can’t be bothered to make meat balls, then don’t. Just stick the ground beef into the pan as she comes in the package and brown it just the same. It’s really just as good.
Though meat balls have a little more character.
Confession: This curry meal, as already described, will entail the use of two saucepans: one for the curry and one for the rice. It is included in this series of purportedly one-pan recipes simply because it is so simple and appetising. So if you have taken umbrage at my shocking duplicity then skip a couple of pages and fast-forward to the recipe for the next culinary jewel. For others of a more forgiving nature I even suggest we go for a final gourmet gesture and use yet a third pan. For such kindred souls we urge that just before serving one should take another small fry pan and in a little butter lightly fry a finely-chopped-up onion, some shredded coconut and a handful of almonds. Just barely brown this mixture and use it as a wonderful topping for the mounds of rice. It adds that final exotic touch.
And to make the whole business even simpler just forget about the rice and just eat the curry with chapatis or their almost identical al cousins, Mexican style tortillas now so readily available in supermarkets all over the place.
A simple chicken curry may be made in much the same manner. Cut the chicken into pieces, cut the breast meat into long lengthways strips, and brown them in chicken fat. Using chicken fat ensures that the chicken curry will taste like chicken curry, as will using chicken stock or soup for the liquid. In the same way beef fried in beef fat will make a beef curry taste of beef. If making a camel curry use camel fat. For dinosaur curry use dinosaur fat. It’s that simple. It is the fat of any meat that imparts its own particular flavour and taste. It is truly the fat of the land. And as renowned Canadian explorer,Vladimir Steffanson, wrote, when telling of his famous 1914 travels in his book The Friendly Arctic, it is the fat of the meat that provides its true flavour and sustenance.
Boeuf de ville Londres et les carrottes
or to come proudly right out of the pantry and be absolutely unpretentious with its proper title—
Boiled Beef and Carrots
This longtime favourite of the crews of the old Thames sailing barges is another simple but very satisfying dish. And this one actually is a one-pan dish, thus keeping us honest in regard to our introduction.
This ancient dish was even immortalised in a century-old raucous London music-hall song named, appropriately: 'Boiled Beef and Carrots', (which I keep on hoping, as so often happens to many really old-time songs these days, may well be featured on CD disk as the millennium matures).
To enjoy this turn-of-the-century staple dish take some beef braising ribs or good stewing beef. In fact, some small roasts of beef in the supermarkets are often less expensive and are even better suited as they are easier to cut into suitable pieces and require less removal of fat (to use for frying) and gristle (gristle! gristle!!! Today that is an unmentionable word from which our modern purveyors of everything excellent cringe and have managed to banish from their display counters and sweep right out of the supermarket lexicon. Such a degrading word is usually not even to be found in up-market computer spell checkers).
Anyway, cut the meat into pieces, and using good olive oil, brown in a large pan with a couple of whole onions. Then put in a pint or two of beef stock (a can, or two, of beef broth, bouillon or consommé will do). When the beef is just about cooked drop in lots of lightly-peeled robust, full-sized carrots. Lots and lots of them. Add NOTHING ELSE. Repeat, Nothing else, or it will become just another stew and the unique taste of this hearty dish will be lost. Just lots and lots of carrots. Either sliced or in big chunks. But if you like that sort of thing, for added richness of taste, you can dribble a little beef Bovril into it, also a splash of Worcestershire Sauce. Or even stir in a teaspoon of Bisto mixed into a paste, or Marmite.
Then continue cooking until the carrots, though tender, are still firm—not soggy. Even the most lukewarm carrot lover will go for this carrot dish. It's rich, savoury and so healthful with all those carrots that a halo of culinary beatitude will appear around your masthead. The only addition allowed at all maybe is a single parsnip. Well...maybe two at the very most—if you’re very partial to them.
And that's it. Just steer off a little to starboard or port, while you have a good zestful glass or two of ale, and let your wonderful carroty creation just quietly hubble-bubble its way up to culinary heaven of its very own volition.
Meanwhile, back in the kitchen, we enter paradise with:
STEAK AND KIDNEY NEGATIVE PIE
(Rumpole of the Bailey’s favourite dish)
Steak and kidney pie has been around so long and is so common that all I want to say here is: if you do decide to make such a pie, add lots of mushrooms.
But of much more importance, don’t bother. Don’t bother to make a pie, that is.
That’s right. Forget about making a steak and kidney PIE.
Make a steak and kidney and mushroom PUDDING instead.
Because a pudding has about 16.38 Gigabytes more flavour than a pie. And that’s a mammoth basin-full of flavour when considering that in this way you can fully double a good steak and kidney, mushroom pie’s rightfully applaudable 8.19 Gigabytes. Neither of which wonderful attributes are to be carelessly sneezed at. Unless you’re a little heavy-handed with the pepper pot.
This way to Trencherman’s Heaven:
Take a large ceramic basin and snugly fit into place on its bottom and sides (its inside bottom and sides, that is) an all-in-one-piece layer of pastry. And make sure it's sealed all round—no leaks. The pastry should be fairly thick, about half-an-inch or so (in metric that’s probably about 12 millipedes, I suppose), then arrange the precooked mixture of beef, kidney and mushroom chunks together with a fair amount of their gravy and juices in the basin. Now place an even sturdier, fairly thick (perhaps 16 millipedes) lid of pastry right across the top. Check to see that that the edges of the top lid piece is well sealed where meeting the pastry coming up from around the insides. With everything properly sealed and with such a potent energy-source mixture lurking inside you now have a sort of culinary time-bomb sitting on your kitchen counter—ready to shatter the windows within ten minutes of being placed in an oven.
So for the sake of the neighbours DO NOT put the pudding in the oven. It is NOT a pie, remember. So if it looks like a pudding, feels like a pudding, and pulsates like a pudding, then it must be a pudding. And must be cooked like a pudding. So now we must eagerly advance along the culinary superhighway to reach our prime destination of gastronomical Shangri-La or, in other words—make it taste like a pudding.
But all the same, even though kept out of the oven, it still possesses latent explosive tendencies. To obviate these it is imperative that you now pierce the top layer of pastry about five times with a butter knife—once in the centre, and four other times at the twelve o’clock, three, six and nine o’clock positions. Stick the knife right through the pastry and then twist it through about 30 degrees of arc (0.027 radians in metric or something). The resulting escape holes thus formed will allow, during the delicate cooking procedure, just enough precious and flavoursome gases to filter through to avert explosive calamity. The emission of these heavenly odours from your kitchen will tantalize the gastric juices of all animal life within an audible distance of 1,246.75 decibels, whilst at the same time conserve gastronomically pure the holy essences magically forming within the enclosed sacred conglomeration.
Ok, now back to the nitty-gritty.
After making the safety holes or slots in the pastry-lid place a double layer of white cotton cloth or waxed paper over the basin to form a taut tent covering over its top and tie it down securely with string or a stout rubber band around the rim.
Place the pudding bowl in a large pan with water half way up the sides. Bring to a steady and gentle boil with the saucepan lid loosely on or very slightly raised. In the next hour or more the mixture will cook to perfection with all juices and flavours sealed in by the pastry shell. It wont be crusty, just firm and probably lightly browned—it is a pudding after all—but its flavour will excel that of any meat pie you've ever dreamed of. Not that I disparage meat pies in the slightest. But a meat pudding—wow! Excuse me, I can’t write any more just now. I’ve gone into an orgiastic gourmet's swoon.
Okay, everyone. Relax. I’ve just had a glass or two of good English ale and revived somewhat. So I will just add the following final stanzas to one of my most stimulating personally erotic, and what’s more, edible, fantasies before again succumbing to emotional exhaustion, viz:
The final additional gastronomic touch associated with the serving of steak and kidney puddings as is recounted in recipes from olden days of yore specifies that upon being brought to table, a few moments before being served, a slit was made in the puddings pastry top, several fresh oysters were inserted, then the slit resealed for a couple of minutes. It elevated this wonderful dish to the perigee of Victorian gourmet sumptuousness. Oh, for Epicurean Sakes! I’m slipping off my computer chair again. Just one last little bit and we’ll be finished with this erotic pudding fantasy and I can go and lie down for a while to recover.
Here it is:
When choosing your mushrooms, if you cannot go out in the fields and pick them yourself and must buy them at the store, then choose the large mushrooms called Portobello. They have the right kind of old-fashioned mushroom flavour for this dish.
This pudding is complemented and its succulence increased yet several more degrees upwards when escorted by new gently boiled potatoes and succulent brussels sprouts. And, of course, accompanied by the rest of the precious gravy. That’s it. I’m off in a ecstatic swoon again. I’m done for. I’ll crawl to the kitchen and partially revive myself by partaking of a quick:
ORGIASTIC SHRIMP OMELETTE
A legendary mixture of history and geography has it that the Iraqi city of Basra, today 90 miles upriver from the head of the Persian Gulf, was actually on the coast in Sindbad the Sailor's time.
Over the centuries, it is said, the silt-laden waters of the Tigris, Euphrates and Karun rivers, combined into the Shatt-al-Arab, have deposited enough material to move the coastline 100 miles southwards.
Considering that in the spring flood season just one single ebb tide can lay down 18 inches of soft mud in the shipping channels, this is easy to believe.
And, just after World War II, when Iraq was still a monarchy and the neighbouring Shah of Iran was still two revolutions away from losing his everything, a more benign Iraqi government than those following looked after the workings of the Shatt-al-Arab river and its approaches. And remaining there, holding delicate sway at the top of the Gulf, was a small offshoot remnant of the hardworking British India Raj.
Part of their, and my, responsibility was maintaining a navigable channel through the muddy bar of soft silt that would otherwise block the way into the Shatt-al-Arab river for the tankers, cargo liners and freighters doing business in Abadan on the eastern Iranian side of the river and the Iraqi port of Basra, on the western side.
To this end there were five big seagoing suction dredgers constantly at work and owned by the Basra Port Directorate. The two oldest vessels had been built in Scotland in pre-war days. Their names: Tigon and Liger were derived from mixing the front and rear halves of the names of two very dominant species of amorous felines. These two variations in hybrid offspring, produced by the mating of a tiger and a lion (and depending on which cat was the male) had obviously taken the fancy of some long ago waggish empire builder. But later, taking the exotic dalliances of big cats yet one stage further, one of the new dredgers, by borrowing the rear ends of the other two mixed-up cats, was whimsically named the Onger! After this bit of nomenclature nonsense it was rather an anticlimax (especially for the mythical whiskery ones) when the two newest vessels were prosaically named the Basra and Baghdad.
Anyway, the real point of interest here, as regards primary appetites, is that every year during another fruitful and interesting mating season in those parts, the uppermost end of the Persian Gulf was alive with zillions of large and luscious shrimps or prawns. Suddenly the five dredging vessels were no longer just mhutti boats but became the world's most efficient, and leviathan shrimpers.
The spillway water pouring like Niagara Falls over the sides of the dredgers was actually green and yellow with shrimp. All that was needed was a large net under each spillway and tons of fresh shrimp were taken for the asking.
During the period of this heavenly bonanza, shrimp curries, shrimp pilaus, shrimp salads, shrimp everything-whichway became the order of the day for the entire cosmopolitan population of the region. British empire builders, oilmen, visiting naval sloops, Iraqi bigwigs, transient royalty, international seafarers—all joined in the feasting.
And the most delectable dish, acclaimed by all, was the simple shrimp omelette.
Because a dozen lightly-cooked shrimps as a topping makes a well-turned-out omelette a thing of the most shameful and wicked beauty.
And this is how to make one.
(I might remark as to the making of a well-turned omelette that if you do prepare to create one, don’t. I mean, make an omelette by all means but don’t turn or fold it. It can be awkward to do and it’s not necessary and can lead to much profane language. Instead I suggest you leave all omelettes unfolded in the following way and make a sort of omelette or pastryless-quiche—but built with the heft to carry along those juicy fat shrimps in a handsome and succulent manner).
Recipe for unturned cheese-prawn-quichy-sort-of omelette:
It is necessary to use the correct and suitable size of frying pan to obtain an omelette of the correct and suitable size for the number of lucky people to whom it is to be proffered.
The three frying pans I own for this purpose measure in diameter, eight, ten, and twelve inches respectively. They are made of stainless steel with copper bottoms by Revere Ware and are forty years old and still in fine condition. The eight-incher is suitable for a two-person, three-or-four-egg omelette, the ten-incher for an eight-egger for four persons, and the twelve-incher for a twelve-egger for six persons—more or less. Using the right size pan ensures producing an omelette with the required half-inch thickness or so needed to carry the succulent shrimps or prawns along in appropriate majesty. To enable live or uncooked shrimp to be shelled they should be lightly boiled in a minimum of water until they turn their typical colourful red. Normally, today, we would use frozen raw or already-cooked shrimp as available in supermarkets in great variety.
For the largest omelette break twelve eggs into a bowl. Add one teaspoonful of baking powder, two or three ounces of milk and beat well with a hand-held electric eggbeater. Beat at slow speed to start off and then finish with high speed. This will ensure the mixture being super-aerated with a zillion little bubbles, thus providing pleasing lightness of texture and body thickness at the same time. Meanwhile melt two ounces of unsalted butter in the big frying pan and lightly cook the shelled and drained shrimps. Have ready nearby a goodly amount of grated, well-seasoned cheddar cheese (preferably three-year-old or so Canadian). Cook the shrimp, arranged evenly around the pan, in the butter at medium heat for only a couple of minutes before pouring the beaten egg mixture over the top of them. Do this carefully so as not to disarrange the shrimp’s even spacing and then turn down the heat to low. Cook—at low heat to avoid burning the omelette’s bottom—until after three or four or five minutes the mixture appears to be gelling somewhat. This can be gauged by giving the pan a very gentle little twist and watching for the swirl at the outer edges of the mixture to react appreciably slower than it did at the outset of cooking.
When the consistency appears sufficiently turgid or sluggish and ready to receive it, sprinkle the grated cheese evenly over the top of the mixture. At this time one might also clip some half-inch pieces of thin chives upon the surface with a little pepper. With the overhead grill of the oven preheated and glowing red, take the pan from the stove top and insert it on the upper rack under the grill. To protect the pan’s handle from being burned cover it with a clean, folded and dampened Jay cloth or other suitable protection and leave the handle protruding from the oven.
Stay with the omelette and watch it intently during the minute or two or three it takes to turn a golden brown. Then remove it promptly. Cut into pie-shaped sections and place on warmed plates and serve with fresh wholewheat rolls or croissants. If by chance the first small section being removed shows the bottom not quite cooked the pan can be placed back on the stove top for a further minute or two. Through its possession of a delicate thickness any remaining portion of the omelette will carry its delicious cargo of shrimp without loss of body, flavour or texture for hours or even, refrigerated, still acceptably, into the following day.
Naturally, as a precaution, when breaking the eggs they should be broken one by one onto a saucer before being tipped into the mixing bowl. Every rare once-in-a-while there will be a bad egg. You don’t want to crack a putrid twelfth egg in among eleven perfect ones and so have to jettison the whole batch. Do you?
LOK'S LAND PEA-SOUP
No! This is not an arctic version of North Atlantic sea fog, just another simple version of the edible kind of pea soup. While marooned on a small arctic island with two electronic engineers and four seamen this dish became an accidental nine-days wonder universally acclaimed by our small group.
We landed on the island with a large work crew to raise a 120-foot-tall temporary navigation transmitter. But the weather blew up and the ship decided it must get away out to sea. So after we had all strained together to shove the generator up the beach away from the highest high-water mark I sent most of the men back aboard with the landing craft and off over the horizon went the hydrographic ship Baffin. Later, with a man seriously ill, they had to sail round to Frobisher Bay (Iqaluit) to have him flown down south.
Meanwhile back on the island, off the north shore of Lok's Land, our little, marooned party raised the generator hut and the equipment room living quarters hut. Then we found the feed cables were a few inches short of the generator contacts. Moving the heavy generator up the steep rocky beach those last few inches took the seven of us three cold and bitter hours.
Finally into the hut with the stove going I appointed myself cook while the others carried out other vital chores. Looking at our supplies I tossed a few cans of yellow split-pea soup into a large pot and on impulse added a couple or more cans of corned (bully) beef. I stirred the whole lot up and went outside to help the others.
When we finally got inside for the night I was just in time to stop the pea-soup from burning. It was just slightly browned in places. And it was delicious. Everyone loved it. It had an amazing chestnut taste. All hands liked it so much that repeats were called for nearly every day during the cold of the next two weeks—each time with strict instructions to scorch it to exactly the same degree!
Though a confirmed real ale drinker, there was a time when the following found some favour with me. So I’ll put them down for old times sake.
For simple, but knowledgeable, drinkers, fancy cocktails in general often work against the fine traditional products of distillers. After centuries of bringing blends of whisky, brandy and liqueurs to absolute perfection the old masters must shudder in their graves at the odd things added to their fine nectars in the cause of brash improvement or precocious fashion.
There are, however, a couple of very simple things that can be done to adapt certain drinks, mainly gin, to suit particular exotic environments.
Here are three of them:
PINK GIN SODA MAI
This favourite drink aboard ships plying the eastern tropical trade routes was also sipped appreciatively in rest-house bars, port clubs and at jamborees.
Simple as ever, this drink calls for one or two drops (no more) of Angostura bitters twirled in a traditional champagne glass which then receives a tot of gin and one ice cube. The champagne glass is then topped up with plain soda-water, or soda mai (water). This benign and refreshing drink has a light, crisp, clean flavour and a very forgiving nature even when taken to excess in the warmest of climes.
Another simple addition of soda water, this time to creme-de-menthe. Widely used in hot climates among professional seamen as a contemplative after dinner digestive. Its name of course derives from its colour.
PORT OF BASRA PRUNE GIN
This simple concoction, despite its ingenuousness, is guardian-angel-guidance recommended. It is really volatile. But no party worth its name would ever be given in the old days in the Gulf without it being available.
To sample its dangers and delights you need a large, glass jar with a tight-fitting screw lid. One of about half a gallon capacity will do.
Make sure it is scrupulously clean and dry then fill it completely with the best selected prunes. Now fill the jar with good dry London gin. Up to the brim.
As the prunes soak up the gin you will have to keep topping it up. To get the gin circulating you will need to gently invert the jar every few days or if you keep it on its side you can rotate it carefully a quarter turn every now and then. In several weeks or a few months the gin will have become a rich purple ambrosia—thick, clear and syrupy—and a beautiful after dinner liqueur. Pour it off into fancy decanters worthy of its unique royal colour and appearance.
Remaining in the jar are the plump, sleek, gin-sated, attractive, exotic and innocent-looking prunes. These lethal depth-charges should be carefully removed from the jar as required and arranged on a plate suitable for displaying cocktail party surprises—in this case no idle term. Detail a responsible non-participating adult to watch over their safe disposal during the party—especially if the shindig has any international connotations. Their potential effects on high-level diplomatic relations call for the most rigid security precautions!
So, ok. You’ve cooked all these wonderful things and presented them to be savoured with all their exquisitely flavoured culinary attributes. You have produced masterpieces of comestible concoctions all fitting of gastronomic adulation and all worthy for placement before the crowned heads of Europe, offered to a reincarnated Marilyn Monroe, or a haughty beanstalk of a twit like General de Gaulle, or even plonked down before Her Expansive Majesty, Queen Oprah herself, BUT, did you perform the most important and closest related task of all as you went along.
Did you wash the dishes and utensils? Did you? Did you methodically clean up and repair as you went along?
Because this is very much an integral part of the whole cooking routine. A cook who leaves the kitchen all neat and tidy in addition to producing the meal itself is doubly or triply valued by all. Learn to not only endure but to actively take pride in keeping everything as shipshape and Bristol Fashion as possible and practical.
Imagine, for example, if you had taken part in a national competition and had won the first prize— which comprised having the all best cordon bleu-chef-owners of all the leading four-star restaurants of France, Timbuktu and other world culinary hotspots, prepare and serve, in your own home, a sumptuous multi-million-dollar banquet just for you and your intimates. And then, after all was done, when the royal feast was ended, and the heavenly wine and liqueurs were being finished off, with the four-star magicians all flying away in their personal business jets, if then you were to suddenly find your kitchen left with a mountain of dirty unwashed dishes and cooking pots. What would be your thoughts?
Most anyone can cook a meal. But a good cook cleans up as he or she progresses. And earns a bounty of domestic love stars.
So, wash and clean your dishes.
Or just stick to corn flakes.
Cheers! Bon appetit!