Kitchen Lessons

I used to think cooking steak was easy. Specifically, pan frying it. It was one of the few things I could confidently do. Actually, there were quite a few things I could do confidently in a kitchen – but that’s not the same as saying I could do them well. I would confidently undercook pasta, for example, douse it in soy sauce, and then eat it, despite its unfitness for consumption in the presence of other adult humans – kids are more blasé about that kind of thing – simply because I was hungry and didn’t feel like I could wait any longer. That takes confidence. Twisted confidence, perhaps, but there you go.

But indeed I could do a number of things at varying levels of competence in a kitchen. Since I have encountered Laetitia, who is an excellent all-rounder in the disciplines of food preparation, I have become unable to do many of the things I used to do. One of the reasons for this is the possibility of burning the house down is a disincentive to being ‘creative’ in that making-it-up-as-you-go way that had seemed so liberating with electricity-powered appliances. It’s easy to leave a gas tap on when one is freestyling in the kitchen, and the consequences could be bad if you do, I have been screamingly told on a couple of occasions. And when you live with someone who is so bloody good at all the foody processes, it is intimidating, and you are tempted to keep out of the way, while the magic happens, or to just try to do what you’re told. And maybe I’m doing the lazy bloke thing and simply allowing her to make my dinner for me. (But I hope that is not true very often.)

Steak was my friend though. I would see little cooking segments on TV about it. I knew many say cook on one side, seal in the juices in the process, then turn the meat, cook the other side, and that’s it, don’t do anything else. I also knew that some advocated more turning. I knew that I didn’t buy into this whole debate. I just put butter in the pan, allowed the meat to sizzle, applied butter to the upper side of the cooking fillet and watched that partially melt, then flipped the whole thing over and did the other side. If any more attention was needed to any part I would simply keep it in the pan until the entire thing was the way I wanted it to be. The best part was eating, of course.

Laetitia says she can’t cook steak. Used to be a vegetarian and reckons she can’t get a feel for how it’s done, and then it turns out undercooked or impossible to cut with knife and fork. She’s exaggerating, of course, but I said I would help the other night. It was bad. It was OK for me, as I quite like overcooked meat, but Laetita’s cut was a tad thinner than mine, and so was more overcooked, and when I came to assist with the eating of it (politely, Laetitia claimed to be “full”) it was hard. Like a hard thing. As hard as that.

I hope my steak skills return one day soon.

Published in: on November 29, 2011 at 7:29 pm  Leave a Comment  

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