My 10 year old daughter has taken an interest in My Kitchen Rules and Masterchef lately; to the point its inspired her to take flight in my kitchen.
The only problem is...... I can't for the life of me cook!
That's right I have a husband, four children and leave me alone in the kitchen and I'll find a way to burn water. I am in fact so bad that my daughter asked her Dad to teach her how to cook bacon and eggs. The reason; so she could make her siblings and herself breakfast (supervised of course) when he works on weekends.
Now don't get me wrong, obviously my children don't starve when my husband is working. It does help though that he is a fireman and knows how to put those pesky kitchen fires that happen out when I'm let loose in the kitchen.
Luckily, I can cook a mean spaghetti that we eat whenever my husband is on night shift. When I cook this, I stand at the stove, tea towel over my shoulder, throwing things into the saucepan like a real cook, so impressed at my "adulting" that I almost forget that this is one of the only meals I know how to cook well. I'm so chuffed at myself that I don't even hear the kids huffing and puffing...
"We always have spaghetti!"
Mixed in with a few more...
"When's dad coming home?"
"We've got a good idea, lets make it Take Away Night tonight!"
"Can I just have cereal tonight?".
My mum was and still is an amazing cook, my childhood was filled with baked goods and home-made meals that my friends would all die for. I on the other hand wasn't fazed, it wasn't until I had to start cooking for myself and my husband that I realised I probably should have taken note and at least some interest in the task.
My husband, God bless him, is a complete perfectionist, to the point his pancakes may as well have been cooked in egg rings they are such a perfect round shape. My pancakes turn out looking like "burnt spaceships" as pointed out by my six year old.
At first I was offended by the requests for information on the expected return of Dad and such questions that would come when I placed food down that nearly cost us the kitchen in the process of preparing. I use just about every pot and utensil in the kitchen, I'm sure something good can come out of at least one of them. Then I came to my senses and realised it wasn't me at all, it wasn't my fault my cooking wasn't up to scratch, it was in fact my husbands fault for being so dam perfect at everything he does!
Truthfully though, my cooking abilities are so far gone that when I was asked to join our now regular ladies dinner group with nine of my school Mum friends, I absolutely freaked out. No way was I going to be able to pull off a three course meal, cooked all by myself at my house! My husband of course was in my ear telling me I needed to do it for the kids blah blah blah I love you blah blah it will be fun uurggghhhh. He really didn't think there was an actual genuine concern for the poisoning of my friends and burning down our house!!
So, I reluctantly agreed, thinking I could fool them all...
The first dinner I had I called my mum three days before, she cooked the entire three course meal for me and I passed it off as my own. It was rated one of the best for that year and to this day the girls still think I cooked it. I knew I couldn't fool them the next year though as we had gotten much closer, so I ordered take away claiming I was a bit busy that week. Anyway, it isn't really take away if you serve it on fancy plates, is it?
This year though they all know me even better, especially about my less than perfect abilities in the kitchen. So it wasn't a surprise when I had one of my best friends turn up on my door step early to help me cook the meal (by help I mean do it while I drank champagne and, well, "supervised") She knew I needed help and probably didn't want to eat undercooked salmon and spend three days on the toilet... she is such a good friend!
So, for those of you out there that feel the constant guilt of having a family and being rubbish in the kitchen; to feel the pressure of shows like MKR and Masterchef to plate up creative, restaurant style meals night in, night out. It's okay! As stressful as dinner time is most nights, its really not the end of the world. I know how to cut up fruit and veggies, know how to smash out a healthy breakfast and pack an awesome nutritional school lunch. In the wise words of the man who shares his name with another culinary delight, Meatloaf, "two out of three ain't bad!". If it all goes pear shaped, I am also very capable in the use of my mobile phone to order take away too!
My kids are healthy and at the end of the day are alive and well thanks to my weekly meal plans (Any ideas for getting through the week would be great) although the reality is that they are quite possibly sick and tired of my spaghetti...
"Mum, if we have spaghetti one more time its going to start growing out of my nose".
Thank you my darling eight year old, thank you.