The general impression is that I don’t cook. The general impression is right. But when I do so, I think I transform the mundanity of an everyday activity. I enjoy the drama of the whole act. These days if ever I get into the kitchen it is to make one of those quickie meals. It works well if you innovate and add something unusual or combine unlikely ingredients.
There is one really simple dish and it is my recipe. What I like is how I wrote about it to a friend who wanted to make it. Here goes:
Boil potatoes, large ones. Poke a fork in to see if they are done and a little of the creamy goo sticks to the steel. Skin it with a blunt knife; a sharp one will do if you like a bit of your finger with it. Chop into little pieces, the potatoes not your finger. If you get technical, then the bits will look neater, like you have planned it all. Add some emotion, turn your face away, let them appear asymmetrical…some rounded, others with a flake hanging to it.
Heat some oil in a pan. Extra virgin olive. Make sure it is extra. Just a virgin won’t do. We need to be sure it has not been deflowered at all, not even while riding a horse. Now when it is beginning to feel the heat and arches its back, it will cry out in pain and start spluttering. Take a few pepper corns, cloves and aniseed and add to it. Then run for your life at a safe distance.
Once you see smoke curling towards the ceiling, gently lower the flame. Put in the roughly chopped spring onions. You did it roughly, right? Then move the ladle in as it soaks in the now begging-for-more oil. As it turns a blushing pink and then a hot brown, drop the potatoes in. Let the whole lot rush at one go.
In a separate pan dry roast some dill, rosemary and mint. Add soya sauce. Put this mix into the main dish. It will now be cream and brown, a beautiful combination of skin tones.
Cover and let cook for a couple of minutes.
Do not garnish and place in some fancy container. Just scoop as much as you want on your plate. Fork one and take it to your mouth. Let it stay on your tongue as the taste of the sauce registers, salty and smoky. Then bite into the potato and let its creaminess spread inside you.
I understand you will have some toasted garlic bread around. Don’t touch it. The garlic will kill this taste. Get some hard bread roll, break it and alternate between three or four bites.
When you are done, there will be traces of sauce on the plate, slivers of brown. Let them be. They are just stains of an enjoyable meal.
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Okay, so what did my friend say?
“F, you are such a cannibal. I will never look at potatoes the same way.”
You are not meant to. When you are with me, then nothing is quite how it is meant to be. It tastes really good. Trust me. And my fingers are still with my hands.