My New Year’s resolution this year, 2013, was to teach myself to cook. Man cannot live on microwave ready meals and delivery pizza alone (Matthew, ch.4, v.27), and it’s a useful life skill. I’m always dreadfully envious of Erica Bacon’s kitchen skills, and my mum’s a shining example of excellence in the kitchen too, and it’d be nice to eat food that wasn’t processed or arriving in a box. So, what I got for Christmas from my parents was a food processor and the cookbook from Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals, a TV programme by that sage of our times, Jamie Oliver1.
I have to say, cheffery is fun. I haven’t always been successful, but I have more often than not. Like any self-obsessed internet denizen I can’t possibly do a new thing without starting a blog about it, so I’ve been documenting my cookery (mis)adventures at http://fifteenminutemealer.tumblr.com/. If you can’t cook, I recommend Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals unreservedly. The stuff is easy to do, doesn’t require endless faffing, and tastes nice. It is all fried, I admit, but there’s basically no other way of cooking anything in under ten minutes, and it’ll give you a leg up into being more exploratory.
Fig. 2. Blackened Mango Chicken, which I made up myself! Michelin star on its way any day now
Once you start cooking, it is amazing how much recipe stuff there is out there on the web. Chefs with a browser are exceedingly well provided for. Again, much as people might extract the urine out of Jamie Oliver and complain about him, he’s done a jolly good job here: jamieoliver.com has a ton of recipes, including all the ones from the 15 Minute Meals book if you don’t want to buy it. There’s also Epicurious, which I have not found as useful as others suggested I would, there’s a plethora of iPhone apps with recipes in them, the BBC has a load, a recipe app has just won the Ubuntu App Showdown, and just googling will reveal millions of different ways to prepare anything. Also also, if you talk to your friends they’ll all have recipes for things they like cooking, too: Bruce Lawson has just at my urging published his recipe for chicken and chorizo in orange sauce which I shall try out at some point when Darling Daughter (who only eats fish) is not around.
Something that Jono Bacon has said in the past is that a tiny bit more of a focus on health in the Ubuntu community might be a good idea, and I agree with him (despite the mockery he gets for the “eat a vegetable” talk at the beginning of every UDS). He does exercise, whereas I think that if God had wanted us to exercise he wouldn’t have given us the Lamborghini Aventador, so an alternate focus is the food we eat.
Why, why would anyone walk anywhere?
Cooking’s fun; without wishing to sound dreadfully like I’m trying to
appeal to hackers, there’s a similar sort of experimental thing going
on, I think. An “I wonder what it’s like if I put honey in it” sort of
vibe, which feels to me quite a bit like the “I wonder what happens if I
.end method first?” experimentalness of poking at code.
Anyway, gentle readers and denizens of Planet Ubuntu, what are the
things you like to cook? I’m always interested in different recipes I
can steal, as long as they don’t have peppers in.
- Mr Oliver may be unfamiliar to non-English readers. He’s a TV chef who is actually very good at what he does, and has spent serious time on good causes like improving school dinners, but is a dreadful Mockney. To get a sense of what he’s like, listen to Cassetteboy vs Jamie Oliver and then follow @TheMockneyCook on Twitter ↩