I am not, nor do I aspire to be, a gourmet chef. And I enjoy cooking. I enjoy the preparation, the cleaning, the choosing, the slicing, the steaming, grilling, and the time it takes to produce something good to eat.
Last Thursday I made spaghetti bolognese at Keira’s request. I prepared it at the same time as she was doing a piece of homework about table tennis as part of a bigger Olympic project. My focus was all over the place, trying to get the food right and trying to respond usefully when Keira needed help. The end result was an interesting and well laid out project from Keira, and an acceptable dinner from Doug, though Keira said she enjoyed both the dinner and the project, and that matters.
Since then I’ve prepared a salad nicoise (well almost), bacon lettuce and tomato sandwiches, and a roast dinner. They’ve all taken longer to make than they might, and that’s fine – remember, taking the time is one of the things I enjoy about cooking. And they’ve all turned out deliciously great, even if I do say so myself.
Take the BLT as an example. The bacon was trimmed and grilled to perfection, the tomatoes were at room temperature and cut just right with a super sharp knife. The lettuce was fresh, the bread seedy (in a good way) and there was a little mayo on it. Keira and I declared these sandwiches among the finest we have ever eaten, until the next ones. Sadly I didn’t get a picture of the BLT, it kinda disappeared too quick – you’ll just have to take our word for it.
Too often we get horribly busy. Work has a nasty habit of expanding to fill the time available. I often meet and work with people who run back to pack, cram packed diaries. And they are always late for something. Face it folks, you can’t manage a series of meetings that run from nine to ten, ten to eleven, and eleven to midday, without a break. When are you supposed to get from one to the other? When are you supposed to take a pee? When are you supposed to think about what just happened and what may happen next? It takes a little discipline to factor in a few minutes to get from here to there, and all that other stuff. And it’s worth it. And whilst I’d take the nicoise, the sandwich or the roast over the bolognese any day, I do realise that sometimes, you just gotta make stuff happen. Not always, sometimes.
I’m off for breakfast, hope you enjoy yours.