Our arbiter of style on wine and crisps, cheese… and mooning
CAN’T COOK, WON’T COOK Londoners love food, as they will never tire of telling you. They love dining out in the city’s many, culturally variegated eateries. They adore hunkering down with a Deliveroo. They are obsessive about Nigella. They cannot countenance missing an episode of Bake Off. They think Jamie is either a numpty or a saint, but are united in their opinion that his chicken recipes are pukka. They bought a large orange Le Creuset pot with the birthday money from their parents. They can tell you the exact point at which the cronut replaced the doughnut replaced the duffin replaced the crookie as the city’s pretentious baked hybrid sweet treat du jour. Their shelves groan with cookery books and their cupboards bulge with gadgets. That they are the proud and often boastful owners of a NutriBullet, a KitchenAid, a Juicepresso, a SousVide Supreme, a spiralizer, an electronic garlic press, a microplane grater, a digital meat thermometer, an egg poacher, a mandoline, a seven-piece Global knife set and a solid granite Divertimenti pestle and mortar that could kill someone at five paces is all the more perplexing, given the stark fact that they never cook.
If a Martian landed in my kitchen, its generous size, six-ring hob and gadget-strewn oak work surfaces might lead him to believe that he was in with a chance of a meal. This would be erroneous. For me, dinnertime is wine and crisps, or wine and crackers, or, on a particularly decadent evening, wine, crackers, cheese, Parma ham, olives and anything else that doesn’t require cooking but can be slapped on a plate and eaten in ten minutes flat.
I thought I was alone in my tawdry eating habits, but it turns out there are loads of us. We are the Uncooks, a sodium-bloated army too exhausted by the demands of work/parenting/life admin to start chopping carrots at 8pm. That we are in complete denial about our Uncook status is why you’ll find us on the sofa, rapt and drooling over Nigella, as though watching her marinate a bavette steak in tamarind will make it all OK. We won’t die of scurvy. Nigella will save us — right after we’ve finished this packet of Flame Grilled Steak McCoy’s.
One day, we will cook again. We will maybe even marinate — when we’re retired. Until then, let the gadgets lie fallow so that the Netflix