Slice of Life Story Challenge March 15 -Kitchen Crimes

It was my turn to cook last night, so I made a multi-vegetable paella. It has become a favourite in our household. I accompanied it with a goats cheese, fig and baby spinach salad with pomegranate molasses dressing –another favourite.

I will be in Adelaide with work all next week, so I have been assigned to cooking tonight as well. I’m okay with that. I enjoy cooking. I have enjoyed it more since I discovered the recipes of Yotam Ottolenghi when visiting London in 2012. His use of fresh, healthy ingredients and flavoursome combinations has rejuvenated my desire to cook.

As I prepared last night’s dinner, I began to think about my dear old Dad and his relationship with cooking. It was tenuous at best. My Dad would never have been a contestant on a television cooking show. He would have hated the whole idea of cooking as a contest. I have to admit, I’m in his corner on that one.

I have to be totally honest with you dear reader, my Dad’s cooking skills were extremely limited. -Very limited indeed. Not much to look at here, I’m afraid to say.
When it came to cooking Dad had just two basic (very basic) dishes and neither of them were in the least bit exciting.

So, when Mum got sick (she did the cooking in our house. Dad supplied the fruit and vegies from his extensive garden) we were stuck with Dad’s rudimentary skills as a cook.

Dad would heat up tins of tomato soup, boil up some potatoes before mashing them and then combine these ingredients in a most unusual way. He would pour the piping hot soup into bowls before spooning a large dollop of mashed potato into the middle of the steaming soup.  The heaped mashed potato rose above the soupy redness like an iceberg jutting out of the ocean. The Red Sea perhaps?
That was it folks. -Nothing more, nothing less. Every time, he cooked it was the same quirky cuisine that appeared before my sister and me.

Dad would beam as if he had presented us with something quite special. Special? –well, not really. Unusual? –absolutely! His second course was what he referred to as dessert. It consisted of some glutinous, soggy boiled rice, a sprinkle of warm milk and a blob of strawberry jam assembled in a bowl. Dad was forever spouting his mantra, ‘Rice is good for you.’ This was his way of reinforcing his choice.

And that, dear reader is all I can recall about my Dad’s adventures in the kitchen. We survived these times of course, but we were always relieved when Mum re-entered the kitchen. It was as if order had been restored.

I wrote the following poem quite some years later. It is loosely based on my childhood experiences as a food consumer. My Dad never saw it. However, he would probably agree with the fact that his cooking abilities were  somewhat  underdeveloped.


Something simply gruesome
Is sitting on my plate
I can't identify it
It's simply much too late

Something really gruesome
Is pretending it’s my dinner
With a shape and smell
Straight from hell
-It's not a dinner winner

Something quite obnoxious
Is wafting up my nose
A sight most unappealing
Has made my taste buds close

This blob that sits upon my plate
All flipped, flopped and fried
Has obviously been overcooked
And, finally...
It's died!

As I sit here
I'm aware of strange and worried looks
But, this invariably happens
Whenever my Dad cooks


  1. Very fun to read! Tomato soup with a mashed potato iceberg... some kids would love that- two favorites, combined. However, the pics of last night's cuisine are much more appealing!


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