Can’t Cook, Won’t Cook

The husband was half-way through his dinner on Wednesday when he suddenly put down his knife and fork and uttered the words I’d been dreading…

‘I’ve turned.’

Approximately once a month, the husband ‘turns’ on one of the meals in my depleting repertoire of culinary creations.

Chicken stir-fry, for example, was once an absolute weekly staple and the husband was quite happily crunching his way through chinese leaves and noodles for about a year, before he suddenly announced mid-chew, ‘I’ve turned. Please don’t cook this ever again.’

When the husband ‘turns’ on a meal, it means he will NEVER eat it again. This could happen with any meal at any time at any place. The mere sight of it, he claims, would instantly make him sick.

What do people actually eat? As an 80s child, raised on Alphabites and frozen chicken kievs, I’m genuinely intrigued by how people manage to come up with four or five unique – and relatively healthy – meals a week.

When friends come over for dinner, I usually dish up a fail-safe concoction of pizza, pasta and potatoes. It’s become affectionately known as ‘the carb-overload’.

This is how my mid-week menu currently looks: Monday – pasta with pesto and tuna, Tuesday – fish cakes with cous cous. Wednesday – chicken with cous cous. Thursday – pasta with pesto and tuna – or cous cous. It’s little wonder that most of our sustenance comes from Nando’s at the weekend.

As you can see, cous cous is the star of the show in our household. This isn’t just any old cous cous, mind. It’s got the beaming face of Ainsley Harriott on the packet. Cous cous is really easy. You put it in a jug, add 200ml of hot water, give it a bit of a stir… and Ainsley’s your uncle.

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But I fear it’s only a matter of time before the husband turns on cous cous too. He’s already turned on the tomato and roasted vegetable flavours, which only leaves me with about two other options. Thankfully, trusty Ains – never one to rest on his laurels – has just released an intriguing new red onion and balsamic flavour, which has been given a tentative thumbs up from the husband this week.

Come to think of it, Ainsley’s gone a bit mad, in fact, and has branched out into a whole range of dried foods, including mushroom bulger wheat, lential dahl and vegetable spelt.

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Spelt and dahl? I think Ainsley might be having some sort of breakdown. I haven’t tried them yet; I took one look at the cooking instructions and they seemed too complicated – something about simmering for 15 minutes. Still, I’m fearful that old Ainsley’s bitten off more than he can chew. Over-expansion could spell his downfall.

Along with the aforementioned chicken stir-fry, other redundant dishes now include: salmon pasta parcels (turned), lamb tagine (turned after a ‘funny’ piece of lamb), and shepherd’s pie (turned – found a lump in the mash topping).

And did I mention that the husband doesn’t eat most fish, any vegetables, or any form of potato, unless it’s roasted or cooked as a chip?

Strangely though, he does have a passion for Muller Crunch Corners. Actually, it’s more of an addiction. He’s on at least one Muller Corner a day – Vanilla Choc balls being a particular fave – and if there’s none in the fridge, he gets irritable and twitchy. I’ve taken to buying the bad boys in bulk (Sainos is your place).

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Over Christmas, I over-stocked and there was a race against time to consume as many Muller Corners as we could before the impending sell-by date. My whole family were forced to consume at least two Corners a day before they went off. We even had to have a Muller Corner each on Christmas Day.

On Thursday, I went to Marks and Spark’s and randomly bought some lamb kebabs (they were on offer). I was a bit stumped on how to serve them so I dished them up with my old favourite… yep, you guessed it: cous cous!

This is what the husband was presented with after an arduous day at work.

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Let’s just say, I don’t think I’ll be appearing on Master Chef anytime soon.

About two years ago, a new shop called Cook Shop opened up the road. It basically offers up frozen ‘home-made’ meals for lazy, cook-shy fools like me, at inflated prices. For a while, I thought Cook Shop was the answer to everything. We chomped our way through the whole menu and then got a bit bored with it all.

I might have persevered if the ridiculously effeminate man who runs it wasn’t SO annoying. He greets me at the door like a long-lost friend, then follows me around the shop offering to help with my basket and asking if I want to sample one of his new desserts, in the most irritating voice imaginable. I want to hit him over the head with one of his frozen lasagnes.

Thank god for cous cous king Ainsley.

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4 thoughts on “Can’t Cook, Won’t Cook

  1. Don’t know how you find the time for all these dishes with your hectic lifestyle, good on you. Why not save yourself some aggro and get meat and potatoe pie and chips on day 1and fish and chips, day 2. Both these items are available from a ” chippy ” must be one near you. If you intersperse these with cous cous and chilli sauce plus a protein item, that’s 4 days done. Can you do the rest yourself? If not for more suggestions you know my email or even Becs, she does wonders with pasta and you can add ketchup with tuna for stunning results. Hope this hasn’t blown your mind. Husband sounds a bit demanding to me. Ted

  2. Rik once laughed for what seemed like an entire week over Peep Show’s referral to cous cous as “misery sand”.

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