(or a cookbook author for that matter), I could imagine myself delivering all number of clever little tips and tricks – as they do – to give people the idea that I sit around and think hard and long about what works and what doesn’t.
For my (to die for) “caramelized brussel sprouts with pecan nuts and blue cheese”, for instance, I would tell you that the secret is to add the garlic at the last minute of pan-time. That way you get a kick of fresh garlic to temper the sweetness of the sugar and nuts, but without the harshness of actual fresh garlic. (Because don’t you also find that if you add garlic too early, it loses its oomph?) You want garlic. But you want it just right. This is how, trust me.
(Excuse the photograph. My stylist is away watching Argentina getting thrashed by Germany).
If I were Jamie Oliver, I would tell you that this goes fantastically with small, crumbed pork cutlets (and a nice dollop of horseradish on the side), and then tell you how easy crumbed pork is to throw together. (Like this: bish bash bosh).
If I were Rachael Ray, I would tell you not to bother with the bish bash bosh, because I don’t have the time, and you don’t have the time or money to hop on your scooter, head down to your friendly (organic) butcher, have a chat about the missus, get some beautiful hand-reared, grass-fed, acupuncture-tenderised local pork, and neither do you have half a loaf of day-old sourdough lying around waiting to be whizzed into crumbs in the KitchenAid (which you don’t have either).
What you do have is Woolworths, and Woolworths will sell you a packet of (SIX) crumbed pork steaklets for R19.95:
Just throw those babies on a pan with a little EVOO, two minutes per side – in under 30 minutes, and for under R50, you have an amazing, delicious, nutritious meal! (Cue audience applause)
Or if I were Anthony Bourdain pretending to be Rachael Ray, I would say “See how cheap and easy it is? Even your dumb, lazy ass can cook this!”.
I could get into this being rich and famous business.
Especially since it took no thought at all. The brussel sprouts met pecan nuts and blue cheese because those were the only of its friends I could find in the fridge. And as for the brilliant garlic move – that was because I forgot to put it in in the beginning.
I suppose everyone who cooks knows that some of the best things we come up with are just delicious mistakes. Best to keep the rest of the world in the dark. (And it’s probably not really a good strategy to let on how much of the work Woolies does. I doubt there’s room for many more celebrity “chefs” who are basically showing people how to shop. Unless I get a job for Woolies…)