Things have been a little quiet the last few days with the chef in residence returning to his usual casually excellent form and Doris taking a well-deserved back seat. Despite my newfound kitchen aptitude it appears we are not quite ready to share the kitchen yet…
Cheffy and I have done many things together: we’ve worked in restaurants, we’ve methodically slaughtered too many chickens to count, we’ve farmed oysters, we’ve walked long distances in many strange places, we’ve weeded garlic for longer than we care to remember, we’ve argued without the truce-inducing knowledge of the internet, we’ve crossed dodgy country borders and endured the most self-loathing of hangovers. I’m not suggesting we’ve done all these things well, but there is one thing we do particularly poorly and that is share space in the kitchen.
You see, cheffy is one of those people that declines all offers of help when cooking and absolutely means it; his ultimate kitchen nightmare being the interference of amateurs in his holy space.
In some cases this situation has worked as an advantage. For example, if I demonstrate a task in an unsatisfactory fashion (which I can usually be counted on to do) then it takes mere moments before I am met with a dismissive sigh, banished from whatever task it is and left to enjoy my pre-dinner activities in peace.
A rare occasion in which I inadvertently excelled in the kitchen is in the rolling of fun rolls. Frankly, I’ve lamented revealing my flair ever since and railed against my fun-rolling domain every three months when it comes up.
Last night, in a concerted but covert effort to dodge my duty, I suggested we should roll our fun rolls at the dinner table (brilliant, I think). And so we do. But not before I unsuccessfully (as evidenced with photo here) attempt to take a photo of the fun roll set up on the dinner table. Wrong lighting, I conclude, and move on.
One thing cheffy and I share in common is impatience and at no other time is this more evident than when sharing food or rolling fun rolls (side note: you do not want to have tapas with us. Tapas is not a competition but you will loose).
The rolling of the fun rolls turns out to be the least bit of fun we’ve had all day. What’s wrong with these rice paper rolls? I complain. We take it in turns to douse the sheets of rice in the lukewarm water, slopping them back onto our respective plates and attempting to roll the colourful chopped vegetables and bean sprouts into a tight and delicious little pouch.
What results is a disheveled cluster of the vegetables encased in a sludgy piece of rice paper that is almost impossible to maneuver into the mouth. After my third failure I concede and go for a bit more of a vegetable salad, however chef battles on, increasingly mystified by the uncooperative sheets of rice.
Unfortunately for you, I am banned from taking a photograph of chef’s attempts (‘My hands must be too big,’ he speculates) but suffice to say my little heart is genuinely warmed by the sharing of joint failure at the dinner table. This is a feeling I am too often denied.