Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Disaster in the Kitchen

'eritrean 
food on an injeera' photo (c) 2008, secretlondon123 - license: 
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Yesterday, Sparky messaged me with the claim that his Beloved had finally sunk beneath my unhusband in the category of kitchen disasters.  My feeling is that since I have been poisoned numerous times and subjected to inedible meals that laughing and shaming is my only recourse. Pizza that is too salty to eat because of feta, pancheta, anchovies, and then more salt for that extra blood pressure raising, eye watering taste does not  beat the unhusband.  Sparky only had to consume one bite, and then had the pleasure of consuming ice cream for dinner, while I on the other hand have been force to close my eyes and grin and bear it, in order not to hurt my honeys feelings.

There are occasions when in good conscience I must admit that not all kitchen disasters are his fault. There was the infamous stuffing side dish that appeared looking like cud and was about as tasty as a heaping of sawdust.  It was so heavy that the family got a work out pushing it around the plate in an effort to avoid eating it.  I am currently teaching Destruction how to cook small meals, in the hope that he can avoid his father's legacy of kitchen disasters.

There are plenty of times when I look at a recipe and think that the concept is a good one but the seasonings are all wrong.  The thing about cooking is that you cannot be afraid to change things on the fly.  Figure out what flavors go together and go with it.  Salt and pepper is a necessity but if they are the only two ingredients in seasoning cupboard then your food is going to leave a lot to be desired.  Furthermore, a recognition that certain food does not go together is a necessity.  A lesson I wish the unhusband had learned when he attempted to make me scrambled eggs with curry, shrimp and thousand island dressing.

I came across a link at The Pursuit of Harpyness that had be cracking up.
Yesterday was a day for dodgy recipes. First came the crisp tortilla, a bizarre creation from Ferran AdriĆ 's otherwise relatively sane new cookbook, which involves bunging a bag of potato chips into an omelette as an alternative to bothering to actually cook potatoes. A tweak of a traditional Spanish technique it may be, but as our own Felicity Cloake found out, the perfect omelette it is not.
More baffling, no, more sickening, was the appearance of Jean-Christophe Novelli's latest Orangina-based (cough, funded) attempt to encourage us Brits to stop being so boring – an Orangina and smoked salmon timbale. Food writer Xanthe Clay, whose children were left traumatised after eating it, described it on Twitter as the "love child of a 70s buffet and a 70s airline dessert ... Odd" and in a subsequent blogpost as "mesmerizingly nasty".

Setting aside the pragmatic, if not egregious reasons for such a recipe's inception, these aberrations are an important reminder of the fallibility of cookery writers. There aren't many of us who don't have a recipe or five they'd rather were forgotten – that attempt to be wacky that misfired, the ill-conceived combination that seemed so clever at the time, that bold endeavour to fly by the seat of our pants that ended in naught but a wedgie.

A recent favourite of mine is Delia's seafood risotto. The Fray Bentos lover and passionate football enthusiast suggested replacing fish stock with fish soup, a tweak that created a risotto that was, as far as most people were concerned, "absolutely revolting". (source)
Okay people, you know what I am going to ask right?  It's confession time.  It's time to dish about the worst meal that you have eaten or prepared.  We have all had disasters in the kitchen that either made us earth shatteringly sick or had us run for the phone to order take out.  My attempt at a coconut thai chicken was so bad, that even the dog refused to it.  Let it fly in the comment section.