Cuisine III

You know that whole thing they used to do with sending a canary down a mineshaft to see if it croaked or sang? Yeah? Well, my culinary canary just fell off its perch and hit the floor with a sad little thud.

I have just had a dinner party trial-run and cooked a delectable coq au vin. Fucking delectable, I tell you. I followed this recipe to the letter; it took me over 2 hours – at the wrong end of a day in which I have driven 120 maniac-filled miles, moreover – and it turned out beautifully. The flavours were fabulous.

I summoned John to come and dish up, and he peered cautiously over my shoulder into the pan. A pan filled with chicken, cooked in red wine.
“That chicken’s gone a funny colour!” he announced.
“It’s gone all… rancid-looking…”
“Well, the skin’s gone all… red!” he exclaimed, before catching my cryogenic look and adding hurriedly “But I’m sure it’ll be lovely!”

We ate. I watched him out of the corner of my eye. I cleared my plate and faced him.
“Ummmm… I’m not… I’m not that taken with it.”
“What’s wrong with it?”
“I’m, er… not sure. Perhaps the brandy. And the chicken’s… gone a funny colour.”

Sigh. It’s pointless trying to talk him into liking it; it’s simply not what he’s used to eating. And if he doesn’t like it, then none of them bloody will. I learnt my lesson over the goat’s cheese incident. Hubby pulled some mighty funny faces when I was preparing that, but I pressed on and served it anyway. 12  full-ish plates came back to the kitchen, in various states of toyed-with-ness. I felt… dejected. Almost sulky, in fact.

I’m not having a good culinary week. I cooked ratatouille yesterday, came to check blog feeds, got distracted, wildly overcooked it. Bugger. I also tried to cook half a butternut squash, completely forgot it was in the oven – are you seeing a theme? – and 2.5 hours later was attempting to scrape out the innards to mash. I reached for maple syrup, and remembered that John smashed my bottle, which I can’t replace because there’s a worldwide bloody shortage of the stuff. So I reached for the cinnamon instead, and managed to accidentally up-end half the wretched jar into the bowl. Arse.

I’m going to bed and back to the drawing board.


11 Responses

  1. Sarge gets funny about food too. He absolutely would NOT touch Swiss cheese when we first got married; insisted that he hated it. I was able to change his mind on it eventually (using the basest trickery) but to this day i can’t let him know that the stuffed shells he loves so much have Ricotta and cottage cheese in them or he will have nothing to do with them. (Sounds like he has a lot of cheese issues, huh?)

    Some days you get the kitchen, some days it beats you senseless. A few years ago I wanted to bake my father an angel food cake for his birthday. Two cakes later I gave up and tried a yellow box mix which STILL came out wrong. I am accomplished in the kitchen! What was WRONG with me?! I was in tears, it was horribly late at night and my father was going to go cakeless on his birthday. I felt miserable. Sarge packed me off to bed, drove to the store, purchased another cake mix, made a cake, frosted it and put it in my cake plate for me. It was one of the nicest things I think anyone’s ever done for me. I’ve no idea why I couldn’t make that cake to save my life.

    Hugs, my dear. It will all come right.


  2. Gosh. I live in the home of maple syrup. I would totally send you some, except that I suppose it wouldn’t get there in time (not to mention that customs might have Issues with it).

    Sleep deprivation, and having a toddler to watch in general, are probably not good for the chefly instincts. I still bow down to you for even attempting all this.

  3. I’m sure you have a delectable back up menu in mind. The thing about the trial run is that it gets all those mistakes out of the way.

    It was odd timing that just as I opened this page and read the first paragraph, there was a loud “THUD” against my window. I turned to look and saw some feathers leisurely wafting in the air. Somehow, your canary got across the ocean and half a continent and crashed into my living room window.

  4. Since your culinary canary just crashed, can I be its replacement? I promise not to use the word “rancid” to describe your cooking.

  5. Ok – sticking with the French theme – how about Boeuf Bourgignon – he can’t have any probs with beef looking red? Its another one which does not suffer if cooked in advance. Or there is a good beef stew half way through Nigella’s How to eat made with anchovies which works amazingly even if sounds gross. Its in the weekend lunch section I think.

    A health foody alternative for maple syrup is agave syrup – no shortage of that as far as I know.

  6. What about a Blanquette de Veau? Julia Child has a great recipe in her Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Let me know if you want me to email it. And John can’t complain that the colour has gone funny as it’s a white sauce. 🙂

  7. Oh crap – that sucks! But I also know, considering you pulled the first menu together with such aplomb you’ll find something else that will be a raging success!

  8. Come and cook for me. Anything. Gratitude +++. Love foods can’t cook to save own life 🙂



  9. Rancid? He said RANCID? Oooh, just, ohhh, NAUGHTY Hairy Farmer. For a man who spends his days up to his elbows in sheep placenta, he’s a leeetle squeamish, no?

    Coq au vin is supposed to be a weird shade of reddish. It’s cooked in WINE, ffs.

  10. >>> here’s a worldwide bloody shortage of the stuff



    Life is suddenly less worth living. What else will I put on my yoghurt?

    Um. Chicken? Er. Can you make coq au vin with white wine? Or how about belly pork in cider? Not chicken, but cheap and delicious.

    Sorry, I am still in shock about the maple syrup.


  11. PS – I’ve tagged you for a meme!

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