Here’s an Odd Thing

A lot of you can gather that I’m a fairly independent, crash by the seat of your pants, kind of guy, and so I am. The road less travelled is always more interesting to me, even if it currently seems to involve wading through nettles, over some brambles before settling in a thorn bush  but there you go.

All this stops when it comes to cooking. My partner is currently making a jam and cream sponge cake for her sister’s birthday and , to my mind , she seems to be hurling the ingredients together with a careless abandon although  she would dispute this.  Her methods can be mysterious but the results are often excellent.  This weekend it is her sister’s birthday and also the first weekend of her first nephew and her brother’s first grandson’s life. He was born on Monday 21st November at 6.17 am and is a cause of major excitement in the family. Hence all the cooking activity

The point of my ramble is this. When it comes to cooking I experience a complete change of personality. That cheery happy go lucky fellow you normally meet becomes a manic, by the book,  measurer and weigher. “Add 1.534 grammes of butter to 6.1 specks of flour and whisk for eight days.” Yes SIR” I bellow, and measure away with scrupulous attention to detail. “Levitate over the spirit of five mushrooms  and soak in fresh rainfall before laying them in a baking tray. ” “Levitate sir. I am levitating SIIIIR”. “Reduce three marine biologists to a thin brew and whisk in a copy of the Oxford english dictionary”. I hear you master. I HEAR YOU”. All normal manners desert me and the poor marine biologists are not even told of the dish they will be honouring before submitting to my cooking frenzy

At no stage will I use my own judgement, take a short cut, hazard a second guess or try to argue with the book. No No No. I will follow you blindly oh mighty manuscript. Lead me to taste heaven and the admiration of my friends.

Why is this?. Well it’s simple really. I like the look of the recipe and fancy a nice meal but I’ve no idea what I’m doing. Unless I follow the recipe blindly there is every chance I will get lost and produce some menacing goo most useful as a carpet stainer, or some slow decaying super glue. In no other areas of my life does this characteristic show itself but when it comes to  the hallowed call of the taste buds , only blind obedience will lead me through the catering wilderness.  Perhaps I should follow this system in other areas of my life


About Peter Wells aka Countingducks

Trying to remember what my future is
This entry was posted in character, cooking, creative writing, Life, skils and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

29 Responses to Here’s an Odd Thing

  1. How would you approach the recipe for success?


  2. Abby says:

    This is why I don’t cook. Yes, I prepare all of my own wholesome, vegetarian meals myself, but I technically don’t “cook.” If it has more than five ingredients, I get overwhelmed and throw in the towel. However, I do love to bake, although my OCD has me checking the recipe every 1.2 seconds to make sure I’m doing things right. On that note, I completely relate to you.

    I suppose my point is that you could cook the food and I could cook dessert. We would kick butt, as long as we had a cocktail to soothe our anxiety.


  3. aawwa says:

    Yes, I know what you mean, however I often give in to temptation and change the recipe if I don’t have the right ingredients. More often than not, it is pretty average at best.

    I just don’t like being subservient to a recipe 🙂 – even though I should know better!

    Good post!



  4. Larry Lilly says:

    Ease up man. The book on love and life is still being written, so until its published or avaialable on a kindle, forgetabout it. Just wing it, it cant be more screwed up than the rest of what we call life, can it?


  5. Caroline says:

    Brilliant. Crying with laughter at work has raised the odd eyebrow!!

    Thank you!!!



  6. Larry Lilly says:

    Actually, cooking is just like life, but with better scribes. You see, the chicken came first, then the egg, then man cooked the egg in boiling water and it was good. Well, sort of. First time he cooked it for 1/2 day. A bit rubbery. So next time he cooked it for an hour, still rubbery. Next time he cooked it for 15 minutes, it was ideal. He noted that recipe. Cook in boiling water for 15 minutes. We call it hard boiled egg. (That is one dash past the sundial on his kitchen clock) His son many years later tried it for less than that, (better sundial technology, version 1.5) It was sort of less firm, but pasty. So he tried it for 5 minutes, still soupy, but better than runny. Third time he did it for 3 minutes, perfect. he wrote that down, 3-minute soft boiled egg. Then his son many years later tried it using sundial version 2.5, and did it for 1 minutes. Really running, now having a short temper, he smashed the egg into a pot, then quickly scrapped it up, and upon tasting it declared it good. Ahh he wrote, new recipe 3 for eggs, scrambled egg. That is how cook books are born. Screwups, disasters cooking one item but in doing so new recipes are created.

    So make your cake with wild abandon, but keep notes in your head, then you too will have a page in the new cookbook. Welsh rarebit, made with fox.


  7. swells says:

    Wonderfully written as usual! I do not cook for other people – I am not that much of a sadist –
    but admire your altruistic attempts!


  8. Deana says:

    What appears to be half hazard in my kitchen it really well disguised anxiety. I can safely handle one dish at a time. Try on a full multi-course meal, throw in guests, and I’m a neurotic mess of a woman in need of wine to sooth my anxiety. We then offer a blessing for the poor creature that sacrificed itself for this uhm… interesting dish.

    Good post.


  9. –Brilliant.

    ~~~~Cooking is like life: a sift here, a surprise there, a disaster, a crack of an egg over there…and sometimes it actually turns out, Ducky :))


  10. Big Al says:

    You left out the right hind leg of a newt. Otherwise, delicious sounding dish!


  11. lesliehobson says:

    Larry is absolutely correct. Unless you are having an important dinner party where you want to impress – go nuts. You will find that as you loosen up your creative juices will flow in a new way and remove all the restraints from your cooking process. Just make sure you don’t kill anyone with undercook meats 🙂


  12. sillymexox0 says:

    haha i like your blog.
    i’ll keep visiting.
    and as for cooking, isn’t it more fun to experiment at times?


  13. nelle says:

    As with most things, if you do it often, your skill at improvisation improve. Those of us on the short end of culinary experience tend to mechanical, follow the regimen conduct. If you went at it solid for a year, it would be interesting to see how your opinion evolved.


  14. Hahaha! You remind me of my husband he is the exact same way! He doesn’t go into the kitchen very often…


  15. When me and my family cook, we follow no recipe half of the time. Well most southerners do that :). We already know how things are supposed to taste so we know when its ready by taste of by judging from the eyes. I think if you did get lost, with the ingredients, you might discover new flavors and things that you didn’t know of. Exploring with food is what makes it fun. I think a lot of people are scared it won’t come out right.. some meals do and some don’t BUT.. regardless of that fact.. exploring can be fun 🙂


  16. suzicate says:

    I cook the same way your wife does. Maybe it’s being experienced in the kitchen, maybe it’s loving what we do, or maybe the combination. I take this approach to most everything in life…no use sweating over it to the point of not enjoying it!


  17. barbara says:

    I used to get so frustrated with my grandmother, who was a fabulous cook, when I wanted a recipe she never had one. “How could you make the great food you make with no recipe??” I wailed. Then as I got into my own kitchen and, over time, understood more about how certain foods meld together, I started cooking the same way. The ‘seat of the pants’ method has spawned some family favorites! This is why I don’t bake. Baking is an exact science… I never did well in science. There’s not much you can improvise when baking. But ‘throwing a great dinner together’ I can do!
    Your writing and attitude crack me up! Love it!


  18. Texasjune says:

    I’ve cooked since I could reach the stove top without burning myself. After all the years of working and raising kids, I looked forward to retirement. I still cannot imagine why I thought retirement meant I wouldn’t have to cook two or three times day … boy, was that silly – yikes, my husband still eats!


  19. says:

    You are a funny writer. That’s a rare gift to be able to translate humor into text. Thank you for the much needed smile today. As far as cooking goes, I think your best bet is as you say, levitation and prayer! Good luck and have fun.

    Lucky man that your partner is an excellent cook!


  20. Lafemmeroar says:

    I love to cook and I bake multi-grain bread once a week (saved me loads of money). I used to measure carefully, but I find that the more one cooks the instinct (at least for me) kicks in. I’m manic in other areas of my life though. Love this post 🙂


  21. I agree with your “by-the-book” method when baking–there’s chemistry involved and I never mess with a successful chemical formula. But when it comes to cooking, I’m a blind pirate. I make wonderful dishes and never make them the same way twice because I just follow my instincts and whatever I have on hand. I’m told what I make is delicious (people ask for the non-existent recipes all the time).

    Your paragraph describing who you follow the menu remind me of some Wicca ceremonies I’ve read about… 😉


  22. redheadmouth says:

    I am the same way. I have tried to put on spin on recipes but they have always ended up disastrous! If you can cook without a book, I applaud you!


  23. khushjenny says:

    Great post:) exellent


  24. Aurora, HSP says:

    Nicely said. I share a lot of your traits… 🙂


  25. Lovely humour, always providing a good chuckle. I strongly urge you to immediately purchase Julian Barnes’ delightful book ‘The Pedant In The Kitchen’. My mom bought it for me last year and it is sheer delight – you should both empathise and enjoy the humour.


  26. Beth says:

    Eh… depends on what I’m making… chicken soup? Fly by the seat of my pants. Cheesecake? Obsessively following the recipe. Do what works for you and stick with it. As long as what you make is edible and tastes scrumptious, who cares? 😉


  27. enermazing says:

    😆 Maybe with methods like levitation and ingredients like marine biologists sticking to the recipe is better…until you get used to them 😉


  28. This is my favourite line:

    “The road less travelled is always more interesting to me, even if it currently seems to involve wading through nettles, over some brambles before settling in a thorn bush but there you go.”

    And the rest is very funny and brought a smile to my face this Monday morning.


  29. eof737 says:

    A bit of cooking abandon comes with practice. I bet your partner won’t be as gregarious preparing a dish for the first time. I like your approach anyway… Follow the steps or face the tragic outcome. 😆


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