As I worked pretty much all weekend this weekend, responsibility for the kitchenly duties passed to Carole. This has come as something of a shock to the system for both of us – I have had to relinquish control of my safe space, and Carole has found herself in a world where she has to do more than just ask what we’re going to eat and then having it given to her on a plate.
It’s also come a shock to the kitchen.
Because, lordy, that girl can make a mess.
There’s a helpful tip in one of the Hairy Biker’s cookbooks that says you should always try and tidy the kitchen up as you go. Which is all well and good when it’s written down. But when you try and put it into practice it’s a different kettle of fish. I’d say that it’s taken me quite a while to get to a point where I am not surrounded by a sea of dirty bowls, spoons, pans, plates, bowls, spatulas, knives and chopping boards as I cobble stuff together. And that’s before you factor in things like bags of ingredients, salt and pepper grinders, milk… you know, constituent parts of things.
It takes a while to get to grips with the fact that you can actually put things away when you’ve finished with them and it doesn’t affect what you’re doing. I remember when I had the revelation that I could close cupboard doors after I’d got the things that I wanted out of them. It was an actual game changer. I mean, in some ways it’s also a curse, because the handle of the lower run of cupboards lines up almost perfectly with the pocket on my trousers and, more often than not, I end up caught on the door trying to pull against it as I move. But other than that, game changer.
Now, none of this is me having a go at Carole. It’s really fun to come home from work and have her gush about how much she enjoyed the cooking that she’s done but that she has made a tremendous mess. She’s out of practice. I have, pretty much, thrown her out of any and all food preparation things over the past year – apart from her role as “bread bitch” during any bacon sandwich assembly. Along side the mess, though, she’s also drawn blood peeling carrots. Which is a skill in itself. Although she did up the ante on that one by sending me a WhatsApp picture of a sharp knife, half an onion and a box of plasters implying that the injury was far, far worse than the fact that she can’t tell the difference between a carrot and her thumb.
But yesterday all she did was reheat some stew and make some mash. That was it. That is what we had as an evening meal.
Stew, that was already made. Some mash. On plates.
I’ve spent quite a bit of the day putting the kitchen back to rights. I suppose it took longer because of all the times I just collapsed to the lino in tears wailing “What has she done to my kitchen?!?” and then banging my hands on the floor. But even without that I’d say that a good few hours have gone into sorting things out. I mean, I now know how long you have to soak a wooden spoon to get mashed potato off it. It’s a lot longer than you think.
It’s possibly longer than you need to soak a bowl to get dried Weetabix off of it, but that’s an experiment for another day.