Ok here it is in black and white, the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth... (As best as I can relate it through the twisted lens of my perceptions.)
I've never been much good at cooking nor any of the other domestic arts.
I can get by, but only just. My idea of cooking is to get take-out or to go to a restaurant. My idea of cleaning is to not make a mess. I am pretty good at staying on top of the washing, at least that way I get to play with water, and I do like to wear clean clothes. Ironing is one of those things I can do but I avoid. Suffice it to say that I have spent my adult life taking a minimalistic approach to domesticity.
In my defense I will say that I am handy. Fixing things is generally fun, a bit of a puzzle and then a tremendously satisfying outcome that pours positive strokes into my instant gratification pleasure centre. A couple of days ago I fixed TLOML's sliding screen door. It took $12 and about five minutes (including diagnosis and then installation of the new rollers). I have been living large on the praise I got for that! Apparently it had been a giant pain in the arse for about five years. I'm working on procuring some decking board and I will be doing a little verandah repair in the next few days too... that ought to put a shine on my halo!
Anyway, yesterday, because TLOML had not had enough sleep, had gone to work and stayed late for a meeting, and was heading out in the evening for an exercise class, I decided to demonstrate my rusty dusty domestic skills and save TLOML a few worries. So after dropping TLOML off to work in the morning I went to the smaller of the two tiny supermarkets we have here on the island. (Note the use of the word "we" clearly I am beginning to identify as a resident!) I bought, pasta, broccoli, mushrooms, onions, zucchini, beautiful tomatoes with the vine still attached, and cheese. Then I headed home and stripped the bed and put on a load of washing (this involved a couple of trips up and down the quite long flight of stairs to ground level where the laundry and the clothes line are located).
Then I took another run down the street to the liquor store (the bottle shop) to get some cheap red wine for cooking. Finally it was time to start the masterpiece. If I may digress for a moment and correct a few misapprehensions... although I choose not to cook and I'm not very good at the timing and coordination of meal preparation (having had so little practice) I actually can cook. I'm reasonably creative (one day you should ask The Boy about the White Gumbo) and not bad at combining flavours (though the White Gumbo might belie that point).
It began with the rinds and the fat of 5 rashers of bacon cooked to a crisp and then removed, this leaves a small amount of bacon dripping which is far and away the most indulgently delicious fat for any cooking project! Then I sliced three big brown onions and tossed them in with two heaped teaspoons of garlic, one of ginger, and one level teaspoon of chilli. I had to drop in some butter as there wasn't enough bacon fat. Then I sliced and added about ten medium sized mushrooms. In went seven vine ripened tomatoes - sliced, the rest of the bacon thinly sliced, and about a cup of tomato paste and two cups of cheap red wine. Simmer and stir regularly. Meanwhile back at the ranch the washing came in from the line, unfortunately it needed my help and refused to spontaneously fold and stack itself. Then I sliced the zucchini and tossed it in, cut up the broccoli (even the stalk) and added it too. Another slosh of wine and turn it down to simmer and reduce. This concoction can be made with any veggies you happen to have on hand, any meat or it can be vegetarian, the only really standard requirements are the onions, tomatoes, and the wine. The rest is completely flexible. You can serve it on pasta or rice, or over meat or even on toast. TLOML and her son were both suitably impressed (I did warn them that they will need to wait for the next blue moon to see this or anything else cooked by me).
The only problem with my stint as a Domestic Goddess is that I overdid it a bit and I have been paying since about 4pm yesterday afternoon. Roving muscle spasms and some fairly cruel baseline pain have sidelined me today. I have even broken my rule about taking drugs that make me drowsy during the day. I caved in and took a valium a little while ago. I'm hoping that it will help with the spasms but so far not so good unfortunately. So yesterday's Goddess is today's giant slug lying down. I still think it was worth it!
All the while I was cooking I was trying to think of a suitable name for my creation. Heretofore it has always been just called "gunk" but I think it is deserving of a more elegant and sophisticated title. I considered calling it "Henry VIII Sauce" as I beheaded the zucchini... I would love to hear some suggestions?