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The Huntress vs. The Headline: “The Sexy, Urbane Home Cook Who Will Burn You Alive”

July 6, 2011

Well the news headlines today have continued their stealthy decline into oblivion, which kind of matches my IQ that drops in tandem with the dubiousness of the headlines. Again a whole new calibre has been achieved with such ‘outstanding’ articles as “Not So Tricky, Ricky” (The Courier Mail), “Vics Pip All-Stars In Battle Of Bulge” (the Herald Sun) and my favourite “Meow! Claws Come Out For Sexy Kitty Ad” (News.com.au).

And as the great Oscar Wilde once said “a man who does not think for himself does not think at all”.

Today’s headline resounds with me greatly, alas, not because I’m a sexy, urbane home cook, but rather an enthusiastic home cook who has a habit of setting fire to their kitchen (and not to mention still suffering the loss of the tip of my thumb as of Monday evening. To add insult to injury I had been complaining I could never get my damascus steel knife sharp enough. Turns out it was surgically sharp). James Norton, the brave ‘Supertaster’ of Chow.com has produced some interesting statistics that put a dampener on the flourishing proliferation of wannabe home chefs. Apparently over the past three years approximately 40% of callouts to home fires by the London Fire Brigade were caused by people aged between 18-35 and earning more than AUD$60,000 annually. Interesting.

As someone who has a passion for food and cooking there is nothing I love more than creating a meal to share with others. Thankfully, I actually CAN cook and am able to do so without the aid of appalling TV cooking shows such as MasterChef. While I do believe that cooking is a basic skill that all people should attempt to acquire, watching cooking shows on TV does not instantly make you a good home cook. Indeed it will teach you about as much as you need to know about cooking to set fire to your kitchen, but not the skills required to put said fire out.

I just want to deviate a moment to a story which highlights how damaging to good home cooking Masterchef is. In short a woman proudly announced to me that she had been inspired by Masterchef to cook a risotto. What ingredients and technique did she utilise to create said ‘risotto’ I hear you ask? I still struggle with this. So this alleged risotto was basmati rice, ham and peas, simmered in a tin (Yes, a TIN!!!) of leek and potato soup.

I don’t actually think it’s possible to bastardise and debase the use of the term risotto any further than that.

Just to stop my ego from getting overinflated from the fact I actually know how to make a real risotto and bringing it back to the article in discussion, I have set fire to my kitchen on several occasions. I have successfully put out each fire I have started (for some reason I can perform really well in an emergency situation. Shame it doesn’t apply to my normal life), but for those who may not be so proficient at doing so, James Norton offered some excellent suggestions to prevent a visit from the local friendly fire department. These suggestions include inbuilt fire detection and extinguishing systems built into stove tops, a no-cook cookbook for 20 something’s who think they can cook and the designation of a sober sous chef to over see late night stove top sessions. That last one is my favourite.

I still can’t get over the stupid basmati rice with stuff in it thing that woman created and called risotto.

I also just want to add that while I dislike Masterchef and many other cooking shows on TV I still want to be Nigella Lawson and have always loved the Iron Chef.

Who wants to play Iron Chef with me?

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