Too many cooks spoil the broth

by hannahb21

Food has always played a big part in my life. Once I had reached a certain age (I forget how old) I was responsible to looking after my sister after school (our old childminder would occasionally pop in to check that we weren’t up to no good) and to also cook or start to prepare that evenings dinner. Having always watched my mum cook I could not wait to be let loose in the kitchen. Admittedly, at first, there were many disasters in particular the one where each dinner item became its own course, usually starting with the meat, then the veg and finally the potatoes. My timings were atrocious but as time went on (and some tutoring from mother hen) I soon learnt.

And so it begins…

At university I became more adventurous/less scared to take shortcuts when cooking i.e. pre boiling water for the vegetables (crazy I know!) but when I did the same thing at home there would be a suggestion from the lady I admire most (mum) to let the water boil in the pan with the veg in it. At the time I probably groaned a bit, her way was just different to my way that’s all. This is one small example of ‘backseat cooking’, an action that has only been recently brought to my attention.

My name is Hannah and I am (apparently and at times) a backseat cook…

I am ashamed to say that I have recently been told I have a tendency to be a backseat cook. There you go, I’ve said it, it’s out in the open phew.  It all started when I was asked how much potato should go in a soup and how to deal with a very large celeriac but unfortunately I couldn’t stop myself. This person (my boyfriend at the time) was following the recipe to a T which, arguably, is exactly what recipes are for and very sensible of this person especially seeing as they have never made a soup before. Whilst I thought I was helping by suggesting to not follow the recipe and just ‘chuck in a bit of this and a bit of that’ and saying ‘oh I tell you what would be nice in there, some fresh rosemary’,  it turned out I was not helping one bit. When it was explained to me why my suggestions were not helping I could completely empathise with them. All they wanted to do was learn to make a decent soup; any mistakes would be their own and they would learn from them. Just like the younger version of me and my atrocious timings that made each item of a meal its own course.

The egg saga

The shoe soon went on the other foot though, said person is admittedly the king of cooking eggs but for the sake of this story I have never ever said that (well I haven’t really I’ve typed it). I was happily making egg and soldiers when I was told I was doing it wrong. If i did mess up then we would have no breakfast as the cupboards were bare. I had a sign of relief when the eggs were lovely particularly as I was a bit lax with the cooking of them by not timing them properly etc.

We all make mistakes

Inside of us all is a backseat cook, but it doesn’t hurt to rein them in once in a while. My new year’s resolution is to stop backseat cooking just because it is really annoying, not one likes a backseat driver so what makes a backseat cook so different? Whoever is cooking might not be doing it wrong but just different. Whatever I cook and however it turns out I will always refer to the great wise words of the legend that is Frank Sinatra and be proud that ‘I did it my way’.

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