Prunella teaches you how to cook like a toff!
You know a bad day is about to get worse when you are in the kitchen quietly chugging the cooking brandy and the Hon. Rodney invades your space with a fatuous smile running down his pinkly chubby chops. He looks at you with the Fundador in your fist and his smile fades, leaving behind only the vague mulishness of a public school boy with a secret. You attempt a smile and he perks up instantly.
“I say, old girl, I’ve bought one of those outdoor kitchen thingies. Thought it was about time yrs truly helped out with the old commissariat.”
This is the point where your heart attempts to drop out of your bottom, and a headache beyond even the power of brandy from the bottle leaps into action behind your eyes. But there is worse to come. Because the urge to burn food in the garden is not to be denied. Sadly, this is not the time to for the normally effective spousal veto, and nor will it avail you to offer to meet him halfway. He will have spent what amounts to the national debt of a small Slav republic on a metal monstrosity, and he Will use it – say what you will.
My advice is to get out a couple of heavy-bottomed tumblers and propose a toast in his best single malt. He’ll be so relieved that you are being ‘sensible’ that he won’t even grumble about you glugging back about a hundred quid’s worth of whisky in one swallow.
When the awful thing arrives, and is installed (almost inevitably by a bunch of young men with man buns and body ink and names like Bullfinch and Labrador) your deluded spouse will immediately decide to throw a party. No amount of reasoned argument will persuade him to have a practice run first. And nor will he even consider reading the instruction book (which runs to 3000 pages of very fine type badly printed).
At this point you have two courses of action open to you.
Plan A. Leave the stupid overgrown adolescent to sink in his own ordure.
Plan B. Make your own stratagem to save his face.
I, personally, lean towards the second. Having an indebted spouse is infinitely more satisfying (ultimately) than the short pleasure of watching him sink in a midden (even if it is of his own making) until the sewage closes over his prematurely balding cranium.
And what is plan B?
It’s pretty simple. Obtain, without grumble, whatever meat your deluded spouse proposes cremating and also offer to be responsible for such irrelevances as bread and salads. He will be thrilled with his wonderful wife, so much so that daily depredations to his whisky will be overlooked smilingly.
But now the crafty bit. Also purchase suitable numbers of boned chicken thighs and some bags of those skinny chips our colonial cousins call fries. Set the chicken to marinade in olive oil, garlic, herbs, and cooking brandy. When the Hon. Rodney throws the first offerings to the gods of ineptitude onto the hot coals, slide trays of chicken into the oven (after liberally daubing with someone or other’s proprietary barbecue sauce). When the flames in the ‘outdoor kitchen’ are at their highest throw the chips into the deep fryer.
They should be about ready when your red-faced and embarrassed spouse appears in the kitchen. In desperate straits.
Pat him kindly and bring out the chicken.
Help him to carry chicken and chips to the buffet table. Then help yourself to a very large whisky….
Look out for more tips on how to cook like a toff next week!