Monday, February 16, 2004

Friends at home know that I love cooking and also that, sometimes, I’m pretty damn good at it. However I was a little nervous yesterday when, for the first time, I cooked dinner for Italians; people who I last week described as knowing food, whether they personally enjoy cooking or not: the standard-bar had been raised.

Thankfully it was a success: nobody left any. Even better, there were lots of appreciative cooing noises, “bellissimo”s, “perfecto”s and even a comment about how the English could, in fact, cook after all. Not at all, then, like the scenario described in The Sugarhill Gang's Rapper's Delight, my love affair with which continues:

have you ever went over a friends house to eat
and the food just aint no good
i mean the macaroni's soggy the peas are mushed
and the chicken tastes like wood
so you try to play it off like you think you can
by sayin that youre full
and then your friend says momma he's just being polite
he aint finished uh uh that's bull
so your heart starts pumpin and you think of a lie
and you say that you already ate
and your friend says man there's plenty of food
so you pile some more on your plate
while the stinky foods steamin your mind starts to dreamin
of the moment that it's time to leave
and then you look at your plate and your chickens slowly rottin
into something that looks like cheese
oh so you say that's it i got to leave this place
i dont care what these people think
im just sittin here makin myself nauseous
with this ugly food that stinks
so you bust out the door while its still closed
still sick from the food you ate
and then you run to the store for quick relief
from a bottle of kaopectate
and then you call your friend two weeks later
to see how he has been
and he says i understand about the food
baby bubbah but we're still friends

Genius. Anyway, back to cooking. My second date with F. involved me turning up at her place with a box of food, a few utensils and permission to cook. It must have been good, as I ended up staying the night. Cooking makes you popular.

What did we have yesterday? Not, as a friend suggested to me, pasta or risotto – I’m not stupid enough to cook their speciality; that could only, at best, not go wrong – but instead potato and broccoli mash with crispy trout served with red onion and carrot slices cooked in garlic, chilli and white wine vinegar. Buon appetito.

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