April 27th 2006

The days when most men would only enter a kitchen in order to have sex on the kitchen table, and even more men would need a map to find the kitchen in the first place, are long since gone. In this enlightened  new man age not only do men know where the kitchen is and what it is for other than novelty nookie but actually cook in it, and take great pleasure in doing so. Even bearing this in mind people are still surprised to learn that I do all the cooking chez Ravenscroft, and have been doing so since shortly after The Trouble and I married. They wouldn’t however be surprised had they ever been exposed to The Trouble’s cooking.

We’d moved into our first home after living the first two years of our married life with my parents, a common occurrence in those days. During this time my mother, God bless her, did all the cooking. The Trouble was cooking her first meal for us, a Sunday roast with all the trimmings. She’d said it would be on the table at one-o-clock prompt. The hour arrived, the roast with all the trimmings didn’t. One of the trimmings, the cabbage, wasn’t yet cooked, The Trouble explained. One-thirty came, and went, without the arrival of the victuals. “Cabbage not yet cooked,” said The Trouble, by now looking a little flustered. Two-o-clock, same story.

I put down my newspaper and ventured into the kitchen to take a closer look at this cabbage that need so much cooking. The Trouble, by now almost tearful, obviously feeling that she had let both me and herself down, pointed to a large pan on the stove. There was no lid on the pan. You couldn’t have got one on, for in the pan sat a very large, whole, cabbage. Now I don’t know how long it takes to cook a cabbage whole, only that it’s over an hour and a half, as that’s how long it had been cooking, and the centre of it was still quite hard.

I didn’t take over the cooking duties immediately; that happened the following Sunday when she roasted a chicken with its giblets still inside, still in the little plastic bag. I ‘m sure if I’d asked her to make me baked beans on toast she’s have put the beans in the toaster along with the bread.

I’ve often wondered, since The Trouble is adept at all other domestic tasks, if she boiled the cabbage whole and roasted the chicken and giblets on purpose, as proof that she was a totally inept cook, and in order to free herself of this duty. I’ll never know. But my money is on that she did.