If I’m learning anything about myself through living alone, it’s that I’m actually not a bad cook. I even manage to keep myself healthy and scurvy-free for the most part. I know how to save money and I never go shopping hungry, except when I take so long to make decisions about what to buy that I become hungry mid-trip. But then I just pretend to have a child and steal one of the free apples they give out to kids to shut them up (JK). Anyway, for the most part I’m pretty good in the kitchen.
However, somewhere around every three months I get cocky. I come up with ideas off the top of my head, or decide I know better than the recipes I’m holding in my hand. As it turns out, I never ever do.
Culinary mistake #1: Soup that wasn’t soup
Feeling buoyed by a recent success at making some truly exemplary meatballs I decided I could handle a reduced-to-30p pack of leek and potato soup mix from Tesco. Never mind the fact that even while still in the shop I read that I needed a blender. I do not own a blender because my work surface real estate is a precious commodity in my tiny kitchen. The instructions said to add vegetable stock, so I added chicken stock because I know better than a literal recipe, apparently. I chucked in a ton of salt, some onions, and some garlic for good measure. Then I added a cup of rice, reasoning that sometimes when I get a tin of soup it has rice in. In the end I ate an entire bowl (because I was too stubborn to immediately admit that it was grim) of very salty mush. Absolutely would not recommend.
Culinary mistake #2: bread water
It was supposed to be sourdough. It’s just really hard to make bread, OK?
Culinary mistake #3: The moonshine smoothie
During the autumn, I got very excited by the fact that there are a lot of blackberry bushes in and around Falmouth. I went for multiple trips armed with tupperware boxes and ended up with half a ton of the things. At no point did I stop to wonder whether it was a good idea considering I don’t really like blackberries that much. They sat in my freezer until someone gave me the idea of making gin with them. I did that, but I did not do it well. I still have a bottle of blackberry gin in my fridge, which I refuse to throw away. It is very viscous. More viscous than you ever want a drink that isn’t a smoothie to be. Sometimes it doesn’t come out of the bottle because there’s a lump in the way. It’s basically like a moonshine-y bottle of Innocent, except I’m not sure Innocent would be thrilled by that comparison.
Culinary mistake #4: Any time I try to make hot chocolate
It is a truth universally acknowledge that certain foods – I’m lookin’ at you, sandwiches and all hot drinks – taste better if you don’t have to make them yourself. So I was never going to win with this one. Especially since the reason I wanted hot chocolate in the first place was that I actually wanted cake and didn’t have any. I also didn’t have any milk, so my hot chocolate was just cocoa powder mixed with water. I didn’t have any sugar, so I added some honey, and then some more honey. Finally, and because I decided I couldn’t make things worse, I Irished it up by adding a bit of the super-cheap brandy I bought once to make a hot toddy. Not good. Not good at all.
Culinary mistake #5: Oatmeal pancakes
Because who tests their smoke alarms by just pressing the button like you’re supposed to, amirite guys?