Getting to know me – I can’t cook!

By November 21, 2018Get to know Phyllie
Terrible Cook

You may or may not know that I can’t cook.

I blame a rather scary and overly critical teacher of domestic science who, when I was at school, firmly instilled in me her own belief that I was always going to be a disaster in the kitchen. OK so maybe I forgot to add the sugar in my rock buns mix, and my cakes were lopsided but the way she singled me out and peered at me over the top of her spectacles, quite frankly scared the pants off me. She made sure that the only thing I successfully learned in her class was that I was no good at cooking.

So, did this teacher recognise an incompetent chef? Or did she create one?

Many years later I continue to valiantly overcome my unfortunate school experience by attempting the creation of delicious and nutritious food. Some of my creations are almost edible. The rest…..

‘Oh it can’t be that bad’ I hear you cry.  Well actually I will only hear you cry that if you don’t know me, because everyone who does know me knows that yes, it absolutely categorically can be that bad! Frequently.

Now, I am someone who really doesn’t like processed food so I have to face the fact that in general, cooking is a day to day necessity that I really should be getting to grips with by now. I’m over five decades in for God’s sake! When I say day to day, I mean that very loosely of course. Quite often whole days go by without me being brave enough to let a single morsel of food go near the oven. Instead I revert to tactics…a salad, a sandwich, Doritos and melted cheese, my husband –  he has annoying ability to read a recipe and produce something exactly the same as the photograph.

I can’t exactly explain what goes on when I attempt to build a meal. I start with all best intentions yet somewhere along the line I wander away and assume the oven will do the rest for me. How very very wrong I am…on several occasions it would seem.

What inspired me to start writing about this after all these years? Some scrumped apples and a misguided desire to give my 91 year old mother a home-made apple crumble for her pudding. ‘Easy’ I hear you cry. In fact I can even hear the people who know me cry “surely Phyllie, even you could manage that one?” But this is what happened…

Recipe: Simple apple crumble.

  • Preheat the oven to gas mark 4. Place the flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl and mix well.
  • Place the fruit in a large bowl and sprinkle over the sugar, flour and cinnamon.
  • Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes until the crumble is browned and the fruit mixture bubbling.

So simple.

So so so simple. And potentially quite delicious, had I not used CAYENNE pepper instead of cinnamon…
After a few choice words and the unceremoniously scraping of said crumble into the bin, I decided that from now on I should not carry this burden alone.

With this in mind I have decided to share my most embarrassing and cooking related secrets. Watch this space….


About Phyllie

Phyllida Shrimpton is the author of two young adult books, Sunflowers in February and The Colour of Shadows. She has been shortlisted for the Centurion Award, Bath and Somerset Schools and also the RED (Read Enjoy Debate) Award, Falkirk, Scotland Phyllida has sat on the ‘The Suspense is Killing Me’ panel at YALC 2018 and chaired a panel at YAShot 2018

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