Too many cooks

PUBLISHED: 11:49 20 September 2007 | UPDATED: 15:16 12 May 2010

It s amazing the number of cookery programmes now appearing on television. And I believe it s all a conspiracy to get people like me to spend hours in the kitchen. Are we really expected to arm ourselves with the latest offerings from Delia and Jamie and

It's amazing the number of cookery programmes now appearing on television.

And I believe it's all a conspiracy to get people like me to spend hours in the kitchen.

Are we really expected to arm ourselves with the latest offerings from Delia and Jamie and Rick and Ainsley and, for all I know, the Craddocks and Mrs Beaton?

As I've said in the past, the kitchen is an alien place to me. It's a room which has strange looking gadgets that appear more complicated to work than Dr Who's Tardis.

That's not to say that I don't venture into the kitchen, and the key role I have there is taking charge of the kettle.

I mean to say, without a constant supply of a cuppa life wouldn't be worthwhile.

And this is where the expertise comes into play.

It's not just telling the difference between Tetley and Brooke Bond where such skill suddenly emerges. It's knowing the difference between Yorkshire tea and Irish breakfast tea and Scottish breakfast tea. I can tell people are impressed.

But to return to the kitchen.

Now because I don't stand over a cooker for hours or prepare exotic meals doesn't actually mean that I do not know about the art of cookery.

So here comes the surprise.

In days past when still at school, our class was given a choice between something called domestic science or metal work, or something called technical drawing.

Seeing as I probably wouldn't qualify to be given a rivet-catchers glove, or wanting to become an architect, it was this strange world of domestic science that we entered.

There was probably an added incentive that unlike metal work and technical drawing, lessons of domestic science included having girls in the same classroom.

After all the usual cooking disasters - such as always arriving with the wrong ingredients - we gradually became experts.

Indeed, it was to such an extent that we were allowed to cook a meal for a group of members of staff.

What an opportunity to become real kitchen devils.

But we played it by the cook book and produced a meal worthy of lunch at the Savoy or the Ritz. Well, that's what we thought.

And in the end I came away with the knowledge and skill and expertise to produce to this day a much talked about shepherd's pie.

The trouble is that those lessons from the past didn't extend much beyond shepherd's pie.

So whatever Delia and Rick and Jamie tell me about the ritual of cooking, unless it's shepherd's pie there's not much chance of being converted into a chef of repute.

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