It never ceases to amaze me how he survives the torturously gourmet, business lunches that he is forced to endure in his role as a busy International Executive (his words). Yet so far, he has managed to pull the wool over the eyes of most of his VIP clients, who still believe they can impress him through corporate schmoozing in Sydney’s finest dining establishments.
You see, he has a major flaw in his physiological make up – he has the palate of a fussy toddler. Something obviously went wrong during his gestation, in the development of key functionalities of his body, which not only impaired the development of his vocal chords, but also his taste buds.
And unfortunately the kids have inherited the condition.
Whichever white-coated Dorkus Malorkus is responsible for updating the scientific categorization of eating habits, a new category of ‘vore’ needs to be added to the ‘omnis‘ and ‘carnis‘; that of the ‘maccavores’ (a small group of animals that mainly survive on Macdonalds).
It titillates me to imagine the old man at those corporate food fests, with their fancy-schmancy cuisine, sneaking out to the bathroom in between courses and surreptitiously posseting that sumptuous Asian belly of pork or Bouillabaisse. He must lose at least a couple of kilos Monday to Friday as a result of his condition, weight that he endeavours to replenish at the weekend with some hearty, good old-fashioned home cooking.
Did I mention that I am the yin to Nigella Lawson’s yang?
And the cooking responsibility comes under my jurisdiction in our household. Not because of my gender, (I hasten to add), mainly because we simply cannot survive on the old man’s (hard) boiled eggs alone, (and I refuse to take the bins out or mow the lawns, which is the trade off).
Once upon a time, I had the potential to be a great chef, when we first got married and I foolishly believed that the way to a man’s heart was through his stomach (not via the remote control, as I’ve since discovered). But any passion in the kitchen has been thwarted by the severity of the family’s food choices. ‘Sense of adventure’ with food might stretch to something outlandishly radical like beetroot on a burger, or honey in a milkshake, but ‘anything new’ (encompassing all genres of ‘foreign’ food) is strongly discouraged. They do ‘bland’, and on special occasions, McBland.
Which takes menu planning to a new level in our house.
How do you feed the food-intolerant? One child hyperventilates if I add herb or spice, the other gags if an onion sneakily slips through her mouth’s strict immigration controls, dissecting every piece for foreign bodies before it leaves the plate. The old man only eats meat in ‘patty’ form or fish in ‘finger’ form. ‘Grossed out’ by gristle or sinew, red meat is no longer an option, fish is too fishy (?) and apparently no ‘real’ man is vegetarian. Most of my culinary efforts end up in the dog and when the dog is full, they help supply the world food mountain.
Can’t cook, won’t cook.
Don’t get me wrong, I am as addicted to Masterchef as the next couch potato, but I’m what they call an ‘armchair cook’. I salivate at Jamie’s ‘pukka tucker’ and the old man salivates at Nigella’s ‘saucy puddings’ (!), but any cooking technique beyond different ‘stirring’ functions can send me into a spiral of panic in the kitchen. Twenty years of criticism have destroyed my confidence in the kitchen and applying my relaxed approach to housework to chef-ing does not produce signature dishes. Apparently you do need all the ingredients. Most of my culinary efforts end up ‘de-constructed’, and not out of choice.
Maybe cooking IS a science, like Gary, George and Matt keep telling us.
Who knew that doubling quantities doesn’t work, or that finding the Holy Grail is easier than ingredients with asterisks? Or that all Mediterranean dishes contain ‘sly’ onions, which make my daughter retch?
Why is the question ‘what’s for dinner?’ always followed by ‘is it homemade?’ in our house?
Sometimes Macdonalds is infinitely easier than fighting another food battle. I’m not proud of diabeting my kids every now and then, and I do religiously check them for signs of disease associated with malnutrition; although fortunately McJuices can stave off scurvy and McShakes are the way to go for Rickets.
And very occasionally, I grasp the opportunity for retribution, when I sneakily slip a slurp of vitamin supplement into a milkshake or pureed-to-an-inch-of-their life onions into a bolognaise. But the fact is, some people simply ‘eat to live’.
Personally, I can’t imagine not living to eat. The sensual pleasure of food has been known to take me on an explosively orgasmic journey as intense as any sexual tryst. I have many erogenous zones when it comes to food, and I become a particularly cheap date in the presence of fine cheese and chocolate. Baclava can reduce me to a quivering mess.
George Bernard Shaw got it right. There really is ‘no sincerer love than the love of food.’
For us fortunate ones, who have a functioning palate.
I suggested putting left over baked beans in a meat pie this evening and my daughter’s response was, ‘that’s f…king messed up, mum!’
Do you eat to live or live to eat?
- Anthony Bourdain & Nigella Lawson: A delicious duo or an over-ripe pair? (independent.co.uk)
- Why Cant People Enjoy Food? (seriouslyrebecca.wordpress.com)