I am lucky to have several friends who are enthusiastic cooks. It’s always a pleasure to be invited to their homes for a meal because they like trying out interesting combinations of flavours.
I’m a very willing guinea-pig when it comes to tasting new and exotic dishes. I’m not very innovative myself when it comes to cooking.
I have a handful of old favourites that I cook in rotation because they’re simple and always result in something at least non-toxic.
The problem with having a limited number of dishes is that friends soon get to know what to expect.
I look around my table and see my guests rolling their eyes as if to say: “Oh lord, not ANOTHER quiche. Didn’t we have the same one last month?”
The point is, I know I can rustle up an acceptable quiche, but if I were to try a recipe for lemon juice poached porcupine kidneys, on a bed of wilted fennel, I’d probably end up with some very sick friends and an arrest warrant for attempted manslaughter.
One of my culinarily gifted friends is frequently asked to give his guest the recipe for a dish they have particularly enjoyed.
His reply is sometimes regarded as rather rude. “No, I will not give you the recipe.
“Firstly, it changes every time I cook it and, secondly, if you use my recipe and it turns out horrible, you’ll say something like, ‘It’s not my recipe. I got it from Fred’.
“In which case you’re laying the blame on me for your failure, so no, you can’t have the recipe.”
Good cooks never make the same dish twice. Each time it’s an original. They sniff the spicy vapour and decide it needs a touch more oreganum. Or they’ll sip a spoonful of the sauce and decide to add a pinch of coriander.
No two versions of any dish can be exactly the same so, no, you can’t have the recipe. Go make your own mistakes.
While on the subject of food and recipes, has anybody else noticed something strange about eggs recently?
I use a lot of eggs in my cooking and I’ve recently found the yolks break up and spread as soon as the eggs are cracked. I use the yolk of one egg to make my quiche dough, but recently the yolks simply spread about and I get a pre-scrambled version.
I tried frying an egg for breakfast the other day, but ended up with something rather like an omelette. There’s no way you could do sunny-side-up with that egg. The best you could hope for is runny-side-up. Not the same.
Could this be the result of climate change? Everything else seems to be the result of climate change. Maybe overheated hens lay scrambled eggs.
Bobby arrived at school with a box of chocolates and started handing them around. Even the teacher was handed a chocolate.
“You’re being very generous,” she said. “Is it your birthday?”
“No,” he said proudly.” I became a brother last night.”
* "Tavern of the Seas" is a daily column written in the Cape Argus by David Biggs. Biggs can be contacted at [email protected]
** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.