Our ar­biter of style on wine and crisps, cheese… and moon­ing

Evening Standard - West End Final Extra - ES Magazine - - Upfront -

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

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