Wednesday, 19 November 2008

The Pursuit of the Indigestible...and Other Matters.

Or my further adventures in culinary incompetence and domestic discord......

Seriously, I have no idea what that was last night. It had shape..... sausage...... okay identified the shape, but the taste and texture were something hitherto unknown to man. Heckscher women, at least in my branch of the family, are legendary bad cooks. My aunt and my mother, bless them, try....... but don't quite succeed, and I am probably the worst of the lot.

It isn't for the lack of trying...... I am just very bad at two things essential to successful cookery, timing...... and seasoning. Season to taste...... I hate that particular three word combination. I then under season out of fear or over season out of forgetfulness. And that's another problem. I forget what I am doing. I write things down.... then I just need to pop back to the laptop for another couple of sentences, returning usually just before the smoke alarm starts beeping. Thank god for non stick or we would be in an expensive world of trouble.

You would think from my size and shape that I was a great cook..... trust me looks can be deceiving. I don't even particularly like food, unless it's sushi, which brings me to the most recent of my issues. Sharing a living space with my mother. I love my mother. But she drives me round the bend. It's the whole madness/wrath/one we love thing. My parent and I are best separated by at least a bus ride, probably two (for safety). We fight. We have very different feelings, and very very different politics. And very, very, very different palates.

Which brings me neatly to a point. To successfully share a living space, you have to have at least some common goals. I spend a great deal of time writing. It's what I do. And what I want to do a lot more of in the future. My mother spends a great deal of time yelling about some domestic disaster or other and expecting me to wail along with her, I don't.

We've been through the crux of the problem so many times that I am hoarse, and cross eyed with disbelief. The house is too big to manage, I have neither the time, nor the inclination, and my mother is too elderly to cope. Then we go and look at houses. Until I can no longer cope. Then the whole thing gets shelved again. Three and a half years this has been going on. We have seen every configuration of human dwelling space known to man, and some which aren't and aside from the very nice, posh and exceptionally expensive luxury flats at Kew, right on the river, which would leave her broke inside a year, we haven't actually seen anything that she likes.

It has to be chintzy (for that read McKinley stinker! for explanation of this phenomenon please see Bette Davis in June Bride....... explains it all far more succinctly and with less stress than I ever could), it has to have an upstairs (because people peer in the windows (......and then run away screaming!!)) but should still be on all one level. It must be a flat with low maintenance, but still have a private outside space for Dan to dig big holes in. It must have privacy but still be surrounded by people. And so forth and so on. I think she thinks that she is going to lull me into a state whereby I am going to give in, and we can go back to daily rows. Not a chance.

I crave modern surroundings. And a hygienic kitchen..... I may hate to cook, but I crave a modern, hygienic kitchen. And modern furnishings...... lots and lots of twenty first century furnishings. Good quality too.... not that flat pack crap that comes apart if you sneeze at it. But most of all I crave walls that do not have Sanderson William Morris wallpaper on them. In fact. If I never see wallpaper again it will be too soon.

Some years ago, my aunt (my mother's cousin) and my mother were taking a stroll around my aunt's enormous property near Hatfield when they chanced upon the bonfire already up for fireworks night. There were some rolls of wallpaper added to this fire. My aunt and my mother decided that this wallpaper was too good to waste, so they retrieved it. All of it. All one hundred and eighty seven rolls of it. And guess what. That's not 187 assorted rolls, that's 187 rolls of exactly the same paper. My aunt then gave it to my mother.

So far it is has infested the downstairs hallway, the dining room, the downstairs wc, the stairwell, the upstairs hallway and my old bedroom. It's green. Inescapably green. And it fulfills all the attributes of the McKinley stinker to perfection. And there are still at least one hundred and fifty rolls left. In some of my wilder nightmares I see the thing taking over........*shudders*...

No comments: