Use it or lose it

When I first left home I could cook almost anything and I did. Want roast lamb, I’d turn it out beautifully, with perfectly cooked potatoes, pumpkin and beans alongside. With fresh, home-made gravy that was just right. Even mint sauce if it was a lamb roast. Cakes, too. I could whip up a lovely sponge or a cinnamon-sugar dusted teacake in seemingly no time. Moist Anzac biscuits (think oatmeal cookie) that melted in your mouth. As for pastry, I made my own pies and pasties, and everything from scratch.

Everything except steak, which for some reason I have never been able to cook well.

Use it or lose it, they say.

I ran out of frozen pastry sheets the other day (so useful), so I decided to make my own pastry. Not only did it take forever to do, it was so bad we scraped the pastry off our little egg and bacon pies and ate only the filling.

I can’t even cook eggs any more. I like my yolks runny but my whites cooked (over easy for a fried egg). Oh man. I can get hard whites and hard yolks, or runny whites and runny yolks. Ugh.

As for my roasts. The only way I get the potatoes to be ready at the same time as the meat is to microwave them first.

Too many years spent cooking quick meals or eating take away when you’re too tired to be bothered. Then along comes COVID, and curfews, and it’s harder to duck out and buy something so you start to cook again. And you realise how much skill you have lost.

The worst thing is, I’ve been ‘cooking’ again for two years now, and it’s not all coming back. I’m too slapdash now, not prepared to take care in preparations.

Not that I’m a bad, cook. I’m okay, but I’ve come to realise I am nowhere near as good as I used to be, and that’s because I stopped doing it for so long. It certainly makes me appreciate good cooks more.

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