One of my first acquisitions was cast-iron cookware...then came the meat cleavers. Jonny's latest column - The Northern Advocate - 48 Hours - Saturday 4th February 2017.

Read Jonny's latest A Different Light column below, or online here.

I LOVE to cook.

It's therapeutic, productive, creative and wholesome (well usually).  Before I met my wife I used to think that I was physically incapable of cooking due to my cerebral palsy.  Then I realised fairly early on into our rapid courtship that she really could not cook.

Back then being groovy Goths of the 80s we thought it would be hip and quirky to live off convenience foods like TV meals, instant mashed potatoes and tinned hot dogs.  The freakier the better.  We got unhealthy quickly. I got boils and constipation.  Not very romantically attractive.

The new love of my life highly motivated me to learn to cook and to learn fast.  I found techniques to compensate for my lack of dexterity.  I found gadgets very helpful. I still do and I continue to add to my collection, much to my wife's dismay (we are running out of room).

One of my first acquisitions was cast iron cookware.  Why? Because they're so heavy one can stir a pot without having to hold it with the other hand.  Then came the meat cleavers. I know what you're thinking, is he crazy?  Involuntary spasms and razor sharp meat cleavers - are they complementary?  Well yes they are. The big flat area of the meat cleaver blade can be safely pressed against the other hand without the sharpness getting too close.

Last long weekend I was looking forward to hours of cooking.  However, my gadgets let me down.  Actually that's an understatement. They tormented the hell out of me.  It started off with my newly acquired electric meat grinder that I had bought online with visions of award winning burgers.  I studied meat grinding techniques on YouTube before trotting off to the supermarket to buy a variety of meats which I half froze (it's the way to do it apparently).  Quarter of the way through it started to emit a loud high pitched whining noise with no action.

So I decided to make a Fijian curry instead.  I started to throw together onion, garlic, tons of ginger, chillies, fennel seeds, cumin seeds and fresh turmeric into the trusty food processor to blitz.  In the process I managed to throw about half a kilo of the latter bright yellow powdered stuff all over me, even into my shoe.

Could I find the top to the food processor?  Could I hell as like!  I pulled everything out of the cupboards, rang my wife, texted my daughter, to no avail.  Feeling rather deflated I thought I would cool off in the sea.  I jumped on my mobility scooter which went about three feet and stopped with a clunk, it was out of battery juice.

Could I find the charger?  I was on the verge of dancing with rage and frustration.  In fact I think the charger might still be in Robbie's motor home.  The grand finale was using one of those poncy modern peelers on one of my freshly grown beetroot.  Gosh these have tough skin, I said out loud as the peeler suddenly slipped and one of the parallel blades went straight under my fingernail.  My eyes bulged and the world went quiet for a moment before I medicinally inhaled the rest of my glass of rose.

It wasn't all bad, I'm buying a barely used meat grinder off my colleague.  I used a mortar and pestle for the curry paste.  The yellow stains came off my foot eventually. I walked to the beach which was good for my summertime paunch.  My daughter slapped a plaster on my finger to stem the flow of contamination.  Gadgets are great but you need to have a plan B.

Published 09/02/2017

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