by Adam Slade
It turns out I can cook. It came as quite the shock, I can tell you.
The jaw-dropping discovery was aided by my darling wife, who will be named Sweetie for the entire article (because she is one). Y’see, Sweetie is an author, like me, as well as a nurse, and if I was to say to her, “What’s for dinner?” after she’d just got back from a twelve-hour shift she’d rightly feed me my own kneecaps.
So, after asking her a few probing questions about how the hell certain ingredients became edible, I decided I’d prove to myself that I was more than a Ramen eating water-burner, and prepare something for when she got back from work the next day. Something that didn’t come in one easily microwaveable package.
The next day came early. Too bloomin’ early, in fact, as Sweetie gets up at five in the morning on day shifts. I waved her off, then headed to the kitchen to begin my epic voyage of self-discovery/mutilation. I shall recount it in the form of a recipe. Be sure to follow the instructions to the letter:
1. Remove pork joint from freezer early enough that, by the time of preparation, it is defrosted on the outside while still rock solid on the inside. Try not to drop on the cat’s head.
2. Fill pot with about half an inch of water. That’s somewhere between ‘a smidgen’ and ‘yay much’, depending on the pot’s size.
3. Place pork into pot, add onion.
4. Remove onion, take off outer skin, dice, place back in pot and cover with lid.
5. Realize you forgot to preheat the oven, but throw the pot in anyway. Cook at 350 degrees because that’s what the default setting is and you can’t remember how to change it. That’s probably Fahrenheit.
6. Check on the pan after one hour and realize that the butcher tied string around the joint for some reason. Remove string with blunt knife while burning all ten fingers and screaming insults to the god of livestock.
7. Check the meat every twenty minutes for the next two hours because you’re paranoid that it’ll burn and Sweetie will divorce you for being a terrible chef. In the gaps, soak throbbing fingers in ice water.
8. After three hours cooking time has elapsed, take six reasonably-sized potatoes and peel skins. Aim for 80% potato skin, 20% human.
9. Dice potatoes and throw in a pan of water. Once water is boiled, allow it to splash onto the stovetop, then turn down to medium heat. Remember the carrots shortly after and throw them on top of the potatoes. Sweetie likes ‘em a bit crunchy anyway, right?
10. After five minutes panic because the meat is done but you haven’t finished the potatoes. Turn oven off and add water to top of meat to stop it solidifying.
11. Drain potatoes, remove carrots, mash potatoes (add a little milk and margarine/butter, then squash them till your forearm cramps).
12. Remove meat from pot, put on plates with the oniony watery stuff that it was cooking in. Dollop mash and carrots on the side.
13. Serve, all the while apologizing in case it’s awful.
To my great surprise, the meal turned out edible. In fact it was lovely. The meat fell apart beautifully, and the mashed potato was as creamy as... uh, a very creamy thing on its creamiest day.
Next week? Fromage de tete de porc, avec asperges a la vinaigrette.
I’ll keep the ambulance on standby.
The result of a caveman breeding with an ingot of un-distilled sarcasm, Adam Slade was always going to go places. Some days he even makes it as far as the kitchen. Adam is an author of fantasy and humour works, and when he’s not writing, he’s reading or goofing off on the internet. You can read about his exploits on his blog, Editing Hat, and on his Twitter.