I can't remember the first thing I cooked, I can only remember the first thing I burned.
As as kid, I spent my whole life in the kitchen because it was like, a communal family room, with a huge table around which everyone sat. We did school homework around the table and played boardgames on Saturday afternoons, had arguments, played cards, all the usual stuff.
So we were always party to any cooking that was going on, we kind of got insinuated into it. 'Shell these peas while you're sitting there.' 'Peel these potatoes, will you?' (Peelings wrapped up in newspaper and into bin, peeled 'taters into cold water). 'Butter this bread and put it on a plate for dinner.'
Fringe benefits: tasting the cake mixture! Scraping the bowl! Man, to a kid, that stuff tastes WAY better than the actual cake. (Maybe even now.)
Later in the evening we would usually adjourn to the lounge and watch the black and white television while dad filled the room with smoke, turning the room blue in the glow of the TV.
Then the rogue tidal wave of late adolescence swept away my childhood idyll and I found myself, aged 19, living in a small apartment with a girlfriend. A pregnant girlfriend. A pregnant girlfriend who couldn't tell an oven from a TV. Actually, she could tell an oven from a TV.
The things we get ourselves into. We married but it didn't last. However, thank God for my two beautiful children.
So I turn on the burner, place the pan on the stove, place the sausages in the pan.
Then, they spat. They hissed. They jumped. They split. They jumped and spat again.
Then the smoke started.
- This can't be right, I thought to myself, opening all the kitchen windows.
- Maybe I should turn turn down the heat, I thought to myself, switching on the exhaust fan.
I turned down the heat. I cooked the sausages.
We ate the sausages.
They were a bit black.
Life is just a learning curve.