Tag Archives: cook

1727. Pamela makes a cake

It would be wrong to suggest that Pamela’s mother-in-law was horrible. In fact she was satisfactory – as are most mothers-in-law. It was her father-in-law who was the snarky one. His favourite party story was how he’d taken some leftovers home after dinner at his daughter-in-law’s house and not even his cat would eat it. Haw! Haw! Haw! He would repeat the punchline: not even the cat would eat it!

Pamela had a cat and it would eat anything – in fact she had three cats. And besides, Pamela wasn’t too bad a cook either. She wasn’t the greatest, most fabulous chef in the country, but she could cook a nice meal. When her father-in-law’s birthday was about to come up, Pamela invited her husband’s parents to dinner. Pamela was determined to show that she wasn’t as stupid a cook as the father-in-law made out. She would cook a really nice birthday cake dessert.

She spent ages combing through recipe books and online to discover something lovely that would require a bit of work. She found one and settled on it. It was a Raspberry Tuxedo Cheesecake. The recipe described it as a vanilla cheesecake that sits on a chocolate cookie crumb base, topped with raspberry compote and a drizzle of chocolate ganache. Pure decadence!

The rest of the meal would be simple and elegant, but the birthday cake would put her father-in-law’s cruel joke to shame. Pamela made little bits of the recipe over several days, but on the day before the birthday she spent hours! The “drizzle of chocolate ganache” was the most difficult. It had to be delicate, like a fine lace cloth. And the raspberry had to run evenly down the sides. Finish she did! Pamela put the masterpiece in the fridge.

The guests arrived! Pamela took her creation out of the fridge and placed it on the bench. The meal began! The birthday cake moment arrived! Pamela went out to the kitchen to make a grand entrance! The cats had jumped up onto the bench and eaten most of it.

1707. A chef for the homeless

“I think caviar is vastly overrated,” said Lord Brackenbury. This was at a meeting called by the local Anglican vicar. The number of down-and-outs on the streets had sky-rocketed. The local vestry decided they would provide a grand Christmas dinner for the homeless. And the wonderful thing was that Lord Brackenbury was lending his cook for the day. “Lending a Cook” might be too banal a description; Lord Brackenbury was “Providing the services of his Chef”.

“I think caviar is vastly overrated; although it doesn’t get simpler—or more elegant—than crème fraîche and caviar tartlets when served alongside a glass of sparkling wine. However, in the case of feeding the homeless at Christmas I think a carrot tart with ricotta, almond filling and pickled grapes sounds a lot healthier. And my chef Delphine makes it to perfection.”

“We were thinking along the lines,” said the vicar, “of something simpler. A slice of ham or turkey, with mashed potatoes and peas. Besides, I don’t think we could afford such extravagance.”

“And you need a chef for mashed potatoes?” said a stunned Lord Brackenbury. “Delphine wouldn’t have a clue how to go about doing that.”

The vicar was starting to get riled. “Delphine can’t be much of a cook if he doesn’t know how to boil a potato. I suggest…”

“I suggest,” interjected Lord Brackenbury, “that you find yourself another chef. I have standards. No wonder no one comes to church these days.”

“You can stick it up your…” declared the vicar. The vicar’s statement was interrupted by Lord Brackenbury rising from his chair; he gathered his proposed menu notes and stormed from the scene. Fortunately he forgot to take the main thing he had brought for the meeting to enjoy: elegant crème fraîche and caviar tartlets with a couple of bottles of sparkling wine.

“Ham, mashed spuds and peas it is,” said the vicar. “Cheers.” The meeting cut late into the evening.

1664. You get what you pay for

Let this be a warning! A warning to those of you who think the recipes on this site are worth trying. It’s impossible to think of an explanation adequate enough to describe how this person has tried to pull the wool over our eyes. She calls herself a cook. A cook, my foot! I spent a lot of time and wasted energy, not to mention squandered costly ingredients, making this recipe. I followed everything almost to a tee. And what a disaster! She called the recipe “Shortbread”. Yeah right. She was spot on there. It certainly came out as shortbread, but I adapted it because I wanted a coffee cake. It was horrible. Some people shouldn’t be allowed to post.

952. Just desserts

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Meryl collected recipe books. She had what appeared to be hundreds. They were all ordered on shelves according to type: pickles and chutneys, desserts, foreign recipes, and so on. Of course, many recipe books were collections of all sorts, so she had shelves for all sorts as well.

Meryl’s carrot cake was apparently a phenomenon. “You should use my recipe,” said Meryl to Nancy. “My recipe doesn’t come out as sticky as yours. It’s perfection.”

“Your pumpkin pie,” said Meryl to Charlene, “is very nice, but I have the best pumpkin pie recipe in the world. You’re welcome to use it.”

“You overcooked your roast?” said Meryl (in wonderment) to Dottie. “I have a way of cooking roasts that’s fail-proof.”

In short, Meryl’s reputation for fine cooking had become a legend. And what a thrill it was when she was coming to the pot-luck dinner!

“Could you bring some dessert?” asked Charlene.

“We’re so looking forward to it,” said Dottie.

“I can’t wait,” said Nancy.

Meryl had to drive an hour and a half out of town – way-way out of the neighbourhood – to purchase a dessert no one would recognize.

799. Dear Julia

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Dear Julia

I am outraged. Your recipe for oxtail stew suggests a cupful of red wine. That is disgusting. You are doing nothing other than encouraging drunken alcoholism. I left the wine out before taking up your suggestion of cooking the oxtail slowly for five hours! Five hours! The meat cooked quickly. It had gone brown which surely is a sign that something’s cooked. I took it off the stove after thirty minutes.

As for the celery, I left that out too. My family are not rabbits. Also the carrots. And the potatoes got the heave-ho; they’re so unimaginative. You’d think being a popular chef on television and elsewhere that you could find something more imaginative than potatoes.

A pinch of salt! Drag yourself at least into the nineteenth century. Haven’t you heard of hardening of the arteries? I left the salt out too. And those other disgusting herbs that you wanted put in, like a bay leaf and some rosemary. Dead foliage I call them.

In conclusion I would like to say that I thought the end product was rather bland. I do wish you’d stop foistering your mediocre recipes on the gullible public. My three sons demanded proper food, so I had to open a couple of cans of baked beans.

Signed: A Proper Cook

715. Not much of a cook

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Betty and Morris were a little old-fashioned when it came to marriage. They hadn’t lived together before the wedding, and they’d tried “to wait” with moderate success.

Betty knew she wasn’t much of a cook. Morris said he didn’t mind. It didn’t matter. Betty’s mother was a fabulous cook. She tried to teach Betty, but Betty wasn’t a natural.

For their first meal home together after the honeymoon, Betty cooked a simple cauliflower soup. She knew it was too salty, but Morris said it was “lovely, Honey” and gave her a kiss.

The next evening Betty made a shepherd’s pie. It was sort of average; a little bland really. It was about the level that Betty could safely manage. She did the cooking because she didn’t have a job, and Morris worked long hours and brought home the money. Besides, Betty was now expecting their first baby.

Then one day Betty was cleaning out the car and found a couple of old takeaway cartons stuffed under the front seat. He’d been getting takeaways. She thought she’d been doing okay, and now he was getting takeaways.

Betty didn’t say anything, of course, but she was worried sick. I mean, she just had to learn to cook better. She just did. Even when she made a salad it was pretty ho-hum. Betty was getting stressed about it. Quite stressed, and then she had the baby and Morris was absolutely over the moon and things were fine for a while.

Then Betty found a job. It wasn’t much, but it was enough to keep the wolf from the door. Morris at last could cut back on the hours he worked.

Betty thought it was out of this world. From then on Morris did the cooking. He was a fantastic cook.

“You did well, Honey, really well,” he said. “So now you can stop stressing out about it.”

To celebrate, Morris cooked roasted turkey with black-truffle butter and cognac gravy, accompanied by mushroom, leek, and brioche stuffing with green beans, shallots, hazelnuts, and tarragon. For dessert they had a simple chocolate caramel tart, all washed down with a Rosemount Diamond Label Sauvignon Blanc 2014. And after that…

Betty is expecting her second.