The theme of my trip has been: Things I’d Somehow Managed To Avoid Doing That I Now Have To Cram In A Week In Another Country. I don’t like being in the sun, so I get massive doses of sunshine; I don’t drive, so I have to go on an off-road safari; I don’t know anything about plants, so I spend hours in orchards; I don’t like the beach, so I have to walk barefoot on a stony beach; I don’t like my toes, so I have to expose them to public view. But all these paled next to the horror of Saturday’s activity: I had to cook lunch.
When people say they hate cooking, what they usually mean is that they don’t like it (or else they’re being dramatic, or they hate the cleaning up afterwards). But ‘hating’ and ‘not liking’ are two different things, separated by passion, and I know because I Hate Cooking With A Passion. Why, I have no idea; I don’t recall any culinary traumas in my childhood. Proximity to a kitchen fills me with dread, then despair, then insane rage, and you know that there are knives in kitchens. I tried to explain this, but everyone thought I was kidding—how can anyone not know how to cook, no one is that inept. Well I am that inept.
The setting was Main Course, a cooking school on Beaumont Street in Auckland where the chef demonstrates how to prepare a dish, then you try it, then you eat what you cooked. It’s a wonderful concept—if you know how to cook. Fortunately we had an actual food magazine editor on our team, and she put us to work on various tasks. “Make the lemon zest,” she told me. “What’s lemon zest?” “Okay, separate these eggs.” “You mean from each other or from their shells?” These are not joke questions, I meant them.
My main contribution to the cooking activity was getting out of everyone’s way, and even that I didn’t do well—while avoiding the oven my arm brushed against the handle of a hot skillet. I thought it was nothing at first, then it began to hurt.
The chef’s assistant gave me a frozen bag of raspberries to put on the burn. That’s just great: branded in New Zealand.
Thanks to our leader, lunch got cooked and the lemon tarts for dessert were pretty good (except for the one that had solid lumps of lemon zest). The chef’s other assistant came over and said, “Got a tart for me?”
If Noel and Ricky had been around, and if I had not been holding an actual lemon tart at that moment, that question could’ve been a whole improv sketch.
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The deadline for LitWit Challenge 2.4: Death by Tennis Ball is extended to Wednesday, 31 March at noon, which should give me enough time to regain consciousness after the flight back. Good night, I intend to pass out for two days.