Sunday, October 31, 2010

Challenge 1: Make It Edible

I do not understand how being able to cook will help me find a job. ("Do you know much about qualitative analysis, Ms White?" "Ummm... hey, let me show you this souffle I whipped up earlier!" "Brilliant. Welcome aboard.")

Anise says that successful cooking means being able to multitask, remain calm under pressure, think on your feet, and stay focused. I said that, technically, successful cooking means you can actually eat the end product. Anise said I was missing the point.

Me: "You know cleavage is more of an advantage in a job interview than knowing how to make a risotto, right?"
Anise: "When you can actually make a risotto, we'll have this conversation again."

So she showed me the easiest recipe she knew: penne alla vodka. And then she poured out exactly the amount of alcohol the recipe needed (arrrrgh! Jesus. No-one told me I had to do this sober.), and then took the bottle into the lounge room.

Challenge Report: Things I Have Learnt About Cooking

* Read the whole recipe before starting to cook, or, more specifically, before you turn the gas on.
* Onion, once burnt, stays burnt. And tastes burnt.
* Use a sieve or something when draining pasta.
* Stirring is useful. Vaguely shaking the pan is not.

* Cream and butter make most things better.
* Except burnt onion.

Was it edible? Well, Anise ate it. Granted, she really needed some starch because she'd worked her way through about half the bottle just listening to me use her knife and saucepan. (Don't tell her I dropped the knife about nine times, pointy bit down.)

The good news: stuff was cooked. Stuff was eaten. Challenge One = dusted. Take that, Mum and Dad!

The bad news: on to Challenge Two. I think it involves fitness. I'm going to die.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

So is it Ruby III now?

So far, Ruby II has not had a good start. I survived a full week of getting up early before succumbing to a Rage marathon, and then I remembered that you can't watch Rage marathons sober (especially not ones offering a Nick Cave retrospective), and the next thing I knew it was 3 p.m. the next day and I was using two empty shiraz bottles for a pillow. (Note to self: don't do that again. For a while, anyway.) Through the haze, there were four unread texts bleeping on my phone - two from Anise, one from Mum, one from Dad, all from BASTARD PEOPLE, AS IT TURNS OUT. Apparently I failed Stage One of The Improvening. And now I had to suffer the consequences.

Suffer the what? What consequences? Why didn't anyone tell me about these?

"We thought it best you didn't know," said Mum.
"Am I in a reality TV show? Do you take my blood at night time?" I said.
"We were hoping we wouldn't need to do this, sweetheart, but you only lasted a week on Stage One," said Mum. "We needed a back-up plan."
"Why are you doing this to me?"
Dad rubbed his face and said, "We'd like to help you become employable again, Rabbit."
Great. I'm some kind of lab rat for my parents' freakish control issues.

So what are the consequences? Oh, you guys will love this. I've got Challenges.

Challenges! Chall-freaking-enges!

"How many of these things are there?"
"We think it's best you don't know," said Mum. Again.
"What, like, five? Or twelve, like Hercules?"
She wouldn't look at me.
"More? More than twelve? How many?"
"Is that the time? Charles, we've got to scoot or your physio will never talk to you again."

I still don't know. But I do know the first one: Cook An Edible Dinner From Scratch. Conditions: no packets, no sauces, no take-away, no help. And no hope, let's not forget that one.

I have, however, found a small outlet for revenge: Anise may be making me cook but I'm going to make her watch me do it.