Saturday 4 October 2014

Kitchen grievances

Does anything wreak your head when you’re cooking for yourself or others? What’s your least-preferred job? tidying up? peeling garlic? waiting for your goodies to cook? cleaning the piping nozzle after icing? Or is it the armchair chef that leaves you raging?
For me, there are several things that make me go aaRRRaaagghh:

3. People who do not cook, commenting on what I make.
"oh, I’d have cooked the pasta for another 30 seconds". "mmmm. This is delicious, but it needs a little … something". Or "I’d have added a little more chilli".
Yes, the food critic whose idea of cooking is pouring a jar of sauce through pasta but feels fully entitled to pass judgement on the meal you’ve probably spent all afternoon cooking from scratch. These are often the same people who criticise professional chefs in restaurants. Constructive criticism is fine but preferably from people who know how to boil an egg. Yes, I am a snob. 

2. The dishwasher
I love this labour saving device. If I didn’t have one, I would definitely cook a lot less and I’d probably use paper plates and plastic cutlery. I use it to wash plates, cutlery, pots, but not frying pans or my good kitchen knives. But, OMG, emptying it. Emptying. The. Dishwasher. It just brings out the teenager-y angst in me, and I come over all Kevin and Perry. And I don’t know why! Washing up by hand is definitively more unpleasant, and emptying the dishwasher takes all of two minutes! 

1. Getting the biggest “mmmmm’s” for something that is not really cooking.
I recently cooked for some friends: three curries and naan bread (all from scratch), ‘special’ rice as well as the soup starter. I decided to take the easy route for dessert, and whizzed some biscuits in the food processor, used melted butter to hold them together, chilled it, topped it with whipped cream and fresh berries. This dessert is not exactly ‘cooking’ for me. It’s more construction. Now, the curries were great, and elicited lots of “mmm’s” and “oooh’s” from my guests. But the dessert got the most “mmm’s”! And it's not even cooking!!!!

@BelgianBun tweeted me that “Husband's tea making activities during cooking time!! Oh and splashes on cookbooks” are her bugbears, and I agree particularly about other people being in the kitchen when I’m cooking. Ok, people in the kitchen are fine, and especially fine as long as they’re not directing what I’m doing (my kitchen, my cooking, my way). An aside is that on the occasions when my husband cooks, he gives out that ‘my’ kitchen is not arranged how he would use it. And that it’s not logical to put this there, and why do I put that knife (that I never use) in that out of the way drawer. And when he does cook, I may as well be in the kitchen with him as he’s all:
H (from the kitchen): where’s the grated cheese?
M (from the sitting room): in the fridge.
H: I can’t find it.
M: it’s on the middle shelf
H: it’s not there
M: middle shelf, on the left
H: no
M: middle shelf, on the left, at the back
H: it’s not here
M: middle shelf, on the left, at the back, in the red packet, next to the yogurt and the tomatoes
H: Are you sure we have some?
M: (getting out of the sofa and going to the kitchen): yes. (look in the fridge, middle shelf, left, at the back; hand him the red packet of grated cheese, from next to the yogurt and tomatoes). There you go. (turn back to the sofa).

My mum used to always say to us “if it were a dog it’d bite you”. I now know what this means.

And why does he have to use the biggest knife we have. It’s huge – the blade is the length of my lower arm – and it’s used to slice the top and bottom off a single clove of garlic!

So, over to you… anything drive you mad in the kitchen?


  1. People using my kitchen who don't put stuff back where it came from! Everything has it's place

  2. OMG - this made me laugh!

    The kitchen will be empty - not a single soul around - but as soon as I move into our dinky kitchen with limited space to start cooking dinner... HIM will decide that it is a perfect time to unpack the dishwasher or to hand wash the dishes.... or to open up the fridge door to peer in for feels like hours!

    2nd pet peeve is dirty dishes stacked IN the sink stopping me from being able to pour water into any container or to wash ingredients in the sink ... put them on the side, hide them in the dishwasher or wash them...

    and Finally... using the kettle and then placing it on the (limited) counter-top space and not back in the right place (no idea what the base of the kettle is called... )

    Gosh - I have more kitchen peeves than I had expected! :)