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The Unreliable Guide To… Cooking

By Nat Shepherd on August 18, 2016 in Food

Photo: Con Ventionoven

Photo: Con Ventionoven

Why is everyone so obsessed with watching TV cooking shows? The telly is full of this nonsense and all my friends love it. Don’t get me wrong, food is great, but I have absolutely no interest in watching how it’s made.

Having to endure this drivel on TV is bad enough, but when my mates come over for dinner now they expect something fancy served on a fluffy bed of something unpronounceable. The good old bowl-of-Dorritos-and-tub-of-dip combo just doesn’t cut the mustard any more. The pressure is on.

If you ever find yourself in the same boat, the Unreliable Guide has some tips to help you fake that haute cuisine…

Hire caterers
If you have a big dinner to prepare, get on the phone and organise some professionals to come in and do the lot. Why not? Everyone will enjoy themselves so much more. In fact, if you can afford it, pay the most attractive member of the catering team to stay and cook in your kitchen. While your friends gather round and observe the rent-a-Nigella/Jamie chopping up rudely shaped veggies and suggestively licking her/his spoons, you’re free to do something more interesting. Like watching paint dry.

Buy ready meals
This is a no-brainer. Just buy everything you need ready made, and pretend you did it yourself. All you need to do is fire up the microwave, heat for the recommended time and then scoop the stuff onto plates. So that you don’t get caught out, make sure you hide all of the packaging, and for real authenticity, make some mess in the kitchen so it looks like you prepared it all with your own fair hands.

Invite your friends over to cook for you

I never thought anyone would be stupid enough to fall for this, but a girl I know invited three friends round for a mock session of Come Dine With Me. The friends drew lots to see who would make the appetiser, main or dessert, and she judged it, giving some dollar-shop trinket as a prize for the winner. Everyone had a marvellous time. This is pure genius and I will be inviting you over soon to do the same for me.

Pretend to be on a special diet

Many of us are guilty of allergy-fakery to some extent. Some people actually will die if they lick a peanut, but often we say we’re allergic to something when really we just don’t like it. Kale comes to mind. If you can’t be arsed to cook even though it’s your turn to play host, just pretend to have suddenly become a lactose-glucose-intolerant vegan. When you invite your friends round for ‘tofu surprise’ you’ll be gratified to see how quickly they refuse and leave you to it. Then you can order in the Quattro formaggi pizza and stuff your face in peace.

Finally, the Unreliable Guide suggests that if your friends care so much about food, maybe just dig deep and take them to a nice restaurant once in a while. That way everyone’s happy – so long as you pay the bill – and there’s no washing up to do after.