This weekend I cooked pasta with tomato sauce.
I sliced the onions (shallots actually, because I can’t stand the real deal stinging my eyes), slow cooked the tinned tomatoes with olive oil and oregano and threw in the fresh tagliatelle. There was some leftover roast chicken in the fridge. I pulled out the flesh from the bones, gave it a quick stir fry and added it to the pasta, sauces and all.
As I carried the fit-for-five pan over to the dining table, succeeding in not injuring any small humans on the way, that lovely smell filled the air.
The family was impressed.
I was obviously delighted that the gang loved the meal. But it got me thinking about domestic skills expectations. Which is why I’ve decided to share this story.
At my age, my mum worked full time but still managed to sew my little sister’s Tudor princess dress for her school play. In one night. After work (she tells me she didn’t sleep much). Cooking is not her favourite thing but she’ll prepare a three course meal without her Ipad sitting on the kitchen worktop, covered in butter stains, streaming Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals on YouTube. At some point whilst completing her Uni degree and tutoring kids for the extra money she learned that talcum powder removes grease stains, but you have to apply it straight away (!).
I learned that double tapping on the left key in my joystick got me extra lives at Super Mario Bros.
Do you know that feeling when you get to the end of the exam and as you’re leaving the room you realize you’ve accidentally left a whole section blank?
Well ladies, there’s clearly a whole chapter about domestic skills I missed out on…
Here’s a list of my domestic failings – unplugged.
- I re-heat far more often than I cook. Unless it’s scrambled eggs. People, you’re looking at a crack & mix ninja. I even keep the egg shells to grind into fertilizer (more on this another day).
- There are 2 steps to get rid of tough stains. 1) Wash it again and hope for the best. 2) Repeat step 1. There was a time when I was forced to watch TV adds (Netflix, thank you for coming into my life). I remember this detergent brand campaign filled with women sharing stain-removal video tips on Facebook. They looked happy. It always puzzled me.
- My freezer is jam packed. With ice cream. And frozen cocktail food. I can’t seem to find the healthy batch cooked mid-week meals anywhere… Maybe behind the ice cubes for weekend’s G&T?
- There’s no way I can sew anything larger than a button. Hems? Hello hot glue gun. Corner-cutting queen.
- I don’t have a “method” to organise the kids’ old clothes. There’s a vague assumption that boys clothes go into one box and girls’ will go into another one, but then why is there a pile of old jackets permanently sitting on the spare room’s armchair?
- There’s no way I’ll cook a recipe that involves garlic. I hate the smell the stuff leaves on my fingers. I know it’s totally selfish of me, that garlic has proven health benefits the family will be missing out on and that it narrows down significantly the range of my (limited) repertoire. I adore baking tough. We’ll just all have cake instead.
- I have an issue with limescale. The issue is it’s there but I can’t get rid of it. I feel like it’s a topic should have mastered by now but it sounds scary.
I’m obviously tremendously lucky that I don’t need to know any of those things.
I spend way too much time reading and organising playdates. I have actually painted a picture. I’m working on my first novel. Or I’ll play really, really cool video games.
The household functions perfectly without me labelling old clothes boxes and colour-coding them by age groups.
If I had to define my domestic style it would probably be something like green-activist-books-matter-more-than-cooks kinda vibe. Which I totally own.
I’m hoping that my Saturday morning pancakes and protein balls creations will suffice to create long lasting, happy food memories. And I teach the kids about recycling. I’ve decided that’s more important than home-made school play outfits.
But there’s this horrible strawberry stain on my favourite white shirt I love it sooooo much. Any tips from the universe out there? I’m too embarrassed to ask mum.