Occasionally, and I stress it is only very occasionally, I get an bit of an urge to cook something. (What was that sound? Was that your chin hitting the floor? How rude.) Well, don’t panic—I am not about to invite you over to test out one of my new fandabbydozy culinary creations. Apart from that fact that I don’t think my insurance covers food poisoning, that occasional urge to cook usually only lasts until the closing credits of whatever cooking show I happen to be watching at the time.
It is a bit of a strange thing but I just love watching cooking shows. Why strange? Because anyone who knows me at all knows that I really, really don’t like to cook.
I honestly don’t like anything about cooking (except, possibly, and this very much depends on how successful the attempt was, the eating part afterwards). I don’t like reading recipes (the ingredient list is usually enough to send me screaming from the kitchen). I don’t like organising menus (which I wouldn’t do anyway because—well . . . just . . . why?) I don’t like shopping for food (about the only thing I don’t like shopping for). I don’t like the actual cooking process (ho hum), and I definitely don’t like all the cleaning up that is needed afterwards (well, der).
It’s not that I don’t know how to cook, I do. I am an adequate cook. I know the basics. I can boil water. I can scramble eggs or make an omelette. I can cook pasta and sauce and I can even throw together a roast dinner if I have to . . . but if I don’t have to, I would really rather not.
In truth though, I did, once upon a time, like to ‘bake’ (as in cookies, cakes, slices, pies etc, which I don’t view as quite the same thing as ‘cooking’, but I am sure someone out there will have something to say about that) and, naturally, anything I baked, I ate. (Doh.) Unfortunately my clothing allowance couldn’t keep up with my ever-expanding girth and something had to give (other than my waistbands) so I stopped baking . . . although I am still more than happy to sample the efforts of others (nod, nod, wink, wink) . . .
Although I have no interest in cooking myself I have friends who are die-hard ‘foodies’ and passionate about the culinary arts. (I’m not silly you know, I may not cook but I still need to be fed. 🙂 ) My friends will happily expound on all the different recipes they have tried, hold forth on the virtues of one particular type of utensil over another, and swap tips on the best places to buy all the ‘necessaries’ (and probably also ‘unnecessaries-but-want-one-anyways’) that go with the craft of cooking. For it is a craft, and I do recognise that—it’s just not a craft I want to practice. I am happy to listen to listen to all the animated conversations, nodding and smiling in agreement (like I really know what they are talking about), and I am always very happy to sample their delicious offerings—but I just can’t quite seem to get excited about it for myself.
Nor for the life of me can I understand why someone would want to be a chef or a cook for a living. Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not knocking it—thank God there are people out there like you or people like me might live our whole lives existing entirely on tea and toast—but from what I can see the work is stressful, hot and sweaty with unsociable hours—unless you are a ‘celebrity chef’ I guess, and then the stressful, hot, sweaty, unsociable hours belong to those who work for you. Nope. I just don’t see the allure. But watching other people cook? Great. Fabulous. I can do that. Cooking for me is a spectator sport.
But if I am not interested in the cooking per-se, why do I love to watch cooking shows so much?
For me it is not about what is being cooked or how it is being cooked (I don’t get to taste he fabulous creations after all and, let’s be honest here, I am never going to try and cook it myself)—it’s all about the ‘art’ of it. I find it little different from watching a painter create a painting, or a sculptor a statue. I love the final ‘art on a plate’ image—although I have to say I am less enamoured, after all that work, when the ‘art’ is then attacked and gobbled up unceremoniously by the chef or judges. I know it is all supposed to be about the taste and if it doesn’t bother the cook it shouldn’t bother me, but it does, it does . . .
Anyway, perhaps, one of these days I may just break out and find my way back to the kitchen and try a couple of new recipes and . . . nah . . . who am I kidding . . . can’t see it happening. My sister sent me a plaque once (still proudly on display I might add) that reads, ‘I have a kitchen because it came with the house‘. How right she was.
But that won’t stop me watching, and salivating. If you want to see some of the most gorgeous images of food you will ever come across, go to The Art of Plating and enjoy. (Food porn . . . mmmm . . . )