Monday, August 9, 2010

Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmare!! Or mine....?

Oh wow! Would I like Gordon to see me now?

I go and watch all the good old Hell's Kitchen and Kitchen Nightmare episodes, and they sit in my psyche when I'm doing the old right-brain cooking thing in the kitchen...

So I get some tuna steaks, and not eating tuna in this form very often (mainly the boring old rubbish obtainable in tins from the local supermarket), I have to look at interesting recipes. Google to the rescue! Google tuna steak recipe, and viola!- there we go with countless recipes.

The problems start immediately - most recipes presume you live in a first-world country with lots of lovely fresh ingredients a hop and a skip away at the local fresh-produce market (like we see on Ramsay's shows on TV in the USA or UK). WRONG!! This is darkest Africa - all our best ingredients are exported to....the USA or UK! Go figure! Many of the other ingredients we've never heard of in this backward part of the world, so when ye olde ignorant cooking pleb looks at an online recipe and sees that you need "scallions" (what the hell are scallions?), or capers (I know what capers are, but didn't think I'd need any last week when I was doing the shopping - they don't seem to be a "necessary grocery" item), this is a bit of a turn-off. But I'm cheered up a bit by knowing that I have many of the other bits and pieces that the recipe demands. So I mix and match, and use a bit of "This and That", and then wonder why the taste is not quite what I thought it might be, and G looks at me sideways when I serve up a generous plateful of the stuff in front of her - she has very sensitive nostrils and taste-buds....

And all the time I'm cooking, I have this pulsing thump in the back of my head, somewhere a few inches behind my eyes, with graphic images of Atilla the Hun (yes - I've read Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - have you?) shouting at me - or maybe it's Gordon Ramsay shouting at me. And he's saying kind consoling things like "what the f*** are you DOING????" - like he does to the innocent little amateur girlies on Hell's Kitchen, and most often also the guys (?) - like Dewberry who fumbles and mumbles and mutters and gasps and really doesn't have the first clue what the hell he's actually doing in the kitchen in the first place - let alone with the fire-breathing Gordon Ramsay down his neck!

And then I think - wouldn't I LOOVE to have Gordon Ramsay in my kitchen, whereupon I would freely admit to not actually knowing the right way to fry an egg, and make a slice of toast etc. In fact I can do these things - but I have a sneaky feeling that my toast or fried egg might not look like Gordon's. Oh no! His egg white will be perfectly round, with the yoke balanced happily right in the middle of the white, and his toast will be golden brown, and crispy to bite into, warm and wonderful, while mine will be as hard as a rock and will make the unwary food taster's teeth shatter and fly around the room when they try to take a toothsome (no pun intended) bite. My egg will be lopsided, and will either be a bit too runny (I like it runny - yes- I also am a cogniscenti of Monty Python- are you? If not, go and get educated pleb!) or will be hard like G likes it and a bit too brown, instead of white. So, while I can produce all these things, I have a feeling that if I were to tell Gordon that I can cook, he might just think that I produce the stuff he produces, in the same way and with the same flavour as he does - and there is a world of difference, I can tell you!

So I will plead ignorance and grovel a lot and hope Gordon would take pity on me and actually tell me the right way to do all these good things. And hope that one day, he actually pops in to visit McGregor and comes into the shop, for a little bit of "This and That" in the way of paper or stationery (our shop). If or when he does, I will desist from the temptation to show him the local celebrated eating spots - I wonder if there are more than a dozen or so worldwide that cheer up his taste buds - he'd probably yell at me for taking him to one of ours....but then, what the hell do I know about good food? I like what I eat, but this clearly doesn't make me a gourmet food critic.

What I will do is invite him in for a cup of tea. Why tea? We hardly ever drink tea. The reason is simple - if I offer him coffee, I will feel intimidated putting granules of instant coffee (even Nescafe) into a mug for him, and if I make a plunger of filter for him, I will feel intimidated about the right quantity so he doesn't shout at me because it's too weak, or otherwise tastes like mud. So I will put an Earl Grey teabag into a cup and pour boiling water over it (I have a feeling Gordon would pull my nose if he saw a microwave oven in my kitchen), and serve him his tea. If he doesn't like it, he could shout at Messrs Earl Grey and co - he'll know where to find them - he's English like them.

His cooking thrills me, and his kindly bedside manner is a real turn-on! Gordon is the guy most after my heart who I think would be the greatest president South Africa had ever seen. His way is unpopular, but it's the right way to excellence. Pain produces gain. It turns bumbling farts into gourmet chefs. It turns lackadaisical slobs into the future captains of industry. All it takes is lots of patience, dedication and a helluva lot of grit and determination.

"What the hell are you doing, Mr Foreign Minister - get back behind your desk!!!!"

I love him to little bits - a brilliant cook and a smart, smart very savvy business man. But on second thoughts, I might decide to skip having him in my kitchen - my nervous system couldn't take it. I'll take him with me in my mind only - that way when he shouts at me, I can ignore him or swill him away with a mouthful of red wine!

1 comment:

  1. One day I will visit McG and invite myself for a cup of coffee ... Nescafe will do.