Monday, 3 June 2013

The Accidental Cook

What surprised me most about the horse meat scandal was how surprised everyone was about the horse meat scandal. If a burger costs 50p then I naturally assume it's made of rat, pigeon, or stray cat. To be able to sell a product so cheap, costs must be kept to a minimum. Either the quality of the meat must be low or the animals must have had a poor quality of life (and death). Probably both.
It's doubtful I'll ever become a vegetarian. At the same time I don't want to eat a creature that has been born and bred in a cramped cage, suffered a brief and miserable existence just so I can buy it cheaply. I think a lot of people would feel the same if they followed their budget burger up the chain to where it all began. It's so easy when buying a neat little package of neatly cut meat to disconnect from its origin.
In the city, I often feel disconnected, be it from a sense of community or from nature. The other day, I decided to buy from the local butcher instead of going to a supermarket. I was born and bred in an independent shop, and know how important each sale is for a small business. It felt a lot like stepping into my own shop even though the meat wasn't as sparkly as our chandeliers. But the atmosphere was the same.
There was the butcher chatting to a regular customer and no one seemed in a rush. I asked for burgers because I was having a barbeque that evening.
"I've only got frozen burgers," the butcher said.
Damn. I'd had this idea about going to a local butcher to buy fresh, non processed meat.
"You can make them yourself," the regular customer said. "It's dead easy."
Of course he didn't know me. He didn't realise I'm not the cooking kind of girl. I throw things together and hope for the best. I'm baffled by those people that are forever baking cakes. Sounds like a second job to me.
I bit my lip and dithered. I didn't want to leave empty handed.
What if it was dead easy?
"Alright... what do I have to do?" I asked, expecting the worst.
Following a friendly chat, I left with a bag of mince meat and the distinct feeling that my trip hadn't gone as planned. By now I was supposed to have some delicious organic burgers, not just the ingredients to make them.   
Suddenly I had to do something in the kitchen that I'd never done before. I had to grate an onion.
Have you ever grated an onion before?
I couldn't believe it had never occurred to me to grate an onion. And then I whisked an egg, and added some mustard, and chopped some coriander that I'd bought in a fit of enthusiasm, and was now wilting on the window sill.
Soon enough I had made some burgers. Dead easy, like he said.
Differing Sizes for Authentic Organic Feel!

Glowing with pride, I texted my husband a picture and the message: Who AM I?  
He replied: My wife
Now, some of you must be thinking BIG DEAL, you made burgers, get over yourself. But the big deal is this: you can go through life thinking you're not that sort of person, or you can't do that sort of thing, but maybe you can, and like me, you just hadn't tried it before.
Small but Happy
The following weekend we went for a barbeque with some friends. Their garden is an inspiration with so much variety of herbs and vegetables in different stages of growth. If you've been following my blog long enough, you might have already read about my troubled attempts to grow vegetables. I waited for carrots for over a year and when I pulled them out they were small enough to fit between your teeth.
But I don't fancy being a failed vegetable grower anymore, so I'm going to try again. I might have to wait till 2016 to grow a decent carrot, but by then I'm bound to be a better cook, right?
So... Carrot burger anyone?

No comments: