Friday, 16 May 2014

Cabbages for boys

The temptation is strong, very strong.  So strong that I fear I may give way to extravagance when I go shopping later today.  If I do, I shall come home with a new potato peeler.  There is already a potato peeler in the kitchen drawer and it works perfectly well - in the hand of the Old Bat.  When I peel potatoes, I have to use it like a penknife, as if I am sharpening a pencil.  It is supposed to be an ambidextrous peeler, one that can be used by both right-handed and left-handed people.  The Old Bat is left-handed and it works just fine for her.  I am right-handed and it doesn't work fo me - unless, as I say, I use it by pushing it away from me.  Just why only one of the "blades" works as it should is a mystery, but since it is the Old Bat who generally does the cooking we have no great problem.  Unfortunately, she is unwell at present and, as far as I can tell, is unlikely to be back in harness properly for quite some time.  So, the cooking has become my responsibility.

I don't actually "do" cooking.  If pushed, I can grill sausages and heat up a can on baked beans, but otherwise I have to rely entirely on instructions as I go along.  Detailed instructions.  In fact, very detailed instructions.  Take the other evening, for instance.  I don't remember now what I was cooking, but I announced that I had just put whatever it was into the oven.  That was when I learned that when I am told to put something in the oven at 200 degrees, I should preheat the oven first.

"It's obvious," exclaimed the Old Bat.

"Not to me," I responded.

You see, I was never taught cooking.  In my day, from the age of 8 boys and girls attended different schools.  Mixing of the sexes was acceptable for infants, but that was as far as it went.  Girls were taught things like needlework and cookery while boys did more macho things like woodwork.  Actually, at my school it was metalwork.

My mother didn't help.  She was of the old school of thought: men went out to work while women stayed at home to wash and clean and cook.  So she never taught me anything in the kitchen.

I started off by typing in the title of this post - "Cabbages for Boys" - but have somehow got myself way off track.  Anyway, when I went shopping earlier in the week, I bought a cabbage, some of which I cooked yesterday.  It was actually a savoy cabbage.  In the olden days, when I were but a nipper, one of the programmes on the wireless was farming news.  The announcer would read out the market prices paid for various animals and vegetables, one of the latter being cabbages for boys.  For many months - possibly even years - I wondered why girls and even grown-ups had no cabbages before it dawned on me.

What the announcer actually said was, "Cabbages, savoys".

1 comment:

Sarah said...

Ha ha BP, you have NO idea how many potato peelers I've gone through over the years looking for the perfect one - it's the same with tin openers, I could write several blog posts about them alone. I don't know what it is about these things that they work perfectly in the hands of other people but refuse to cooperate for me!