Mince & the disappointment of a meal gone wrong: if you cook in bad-taste, your product will be plentiful in it…

Food is an important part of a balanced diet—

Fran Lebowitz

522756_10150808745566041_675659681_nI like my kitchen, always have— I’m in it at the minute. I’m close to the kettle so a nice cup of tea is never far from reach; I tend not to snack particularly, but if I fancy a hearty round of ‘wiches, I don’t have very far to move.

As it happens, I’m also quite partial to cooking. I have a few signature dishes that I whip-up every now and then but one night decided to cook a simple mince-dish: easy-peasy right?

I like to think of a meal made from mince like a bicycle accident— easy to do but occasionally hazardous to health. I’m sure that if time were no obstacle I’d add mince to my already brimming list of clutter which really deserves a graph of some kind. But it isn’t on my list, yet— it’ll have to wait its turn along with experimental mathematics, back-burners, high-hopes and the probability of inevitable things.

Anyway, I’m digressing because my culinary plan was flawed before I’d began but it wasn’t until the mince had started to defrost that I realised I had too few ingredients. No peppers or mushrooms or any vegetation for that matter— greens-schmeens, just details, a minor over-sight, I thought. I’d learned long ago that any delicacy, mince-wise or otherwise can be made all the more fragile by bombing it with anything healthy.

I like to think of what happened next as a kind of playtime— egged on by the uncontrollable childish regression genie that’s almost impossible to re-bottle once out. I had what I thought was the wonderful idea: I could use kidney beans and tinned tomatoes to make up for the ingredient that wasn’t there … and blending the be-Jesus out of them.

Out came the Kenwood and with it, my utmost to make a mess and a mockery of the most basic kitchen etiquettes … and blend. Not because it would improve the meal in any way, in fact I distinctly remember thinking, how horribly wrong it could go, but— because it felt sneaky, and after realising, again long ago that cooking was just a caper for grown-ups; that knives and hand-held mixers were really just toys: how could I not? I decided to add three whole onions and blend those too.

And then I found the garlic…

I do like the stuff, but since I was being typically over-zealous, I got a little carried away and started mashing it, adding clove after clove— mainly because I enjoyed playing with the crushy-handle-thing you use to kill it. I couldn’t stop.

If you can imagine the properties of freshly mixed cement, you’d be on the right track in imagining what I had recreated it in my kitchen. It didn’t actually taste that bad at first. It was pretty fucking bad, don’t get me wrong— I managed to finish what I served myself up, bat I did with the rest is another matter.

If revenge is a dish best served cold, then the best dish warm would be mince; I shudder still, recalling it.

By the following day all the sense of fun and wide-eyed joy I’d had beating my ingredients as though harbouring ill thoughts against them was gone. The tearing and shredding and the foaming at the mouth over the really good bits was a distant memory. It was all replaced with the disappointment of allowing exuberance get the better of me. You see, If you cook in bad-taste; without any doubt, your product will be plentiful in it.

Leaving it over night a couple of times however gave me ample time with which to pull out all the stops and solve it’s mysteries and in due time found inspiration in The Great Escape— if you recall, they needed to destroy the dirt from the tunnels and found they couldn’t— not one of their most ‘positively brilliant’ pieces of thinking but maybe, just maybe … I could dilute it? Wean some of the vast quantities of garlic in it to a more palatable level. If I couldn’t, I’d just disguise it…

I remember it was an idea which had me grinning at the myriad possibilities. I even toyed with the notion of filling up a couple of socks with grated cheese, placing them in my trousers and using my feet to hide the offending taste, but I abandoned it, worried about becoming just another statistic. I don’t think any of us like to think we’re influenced by the what we watch— especially whilst preparing meals in a kitchen during peace-time.

It was such a horrid waste of cheese…

My own experience has been that the tools I need for my trade are paper, tobacco, food, and a little whisky.

William Faulkner

Author: DB James

It's one of the finest things we do; write about our lives, because not only do we reveal our minds through revelations our thoughts provide us— But it gives us an incentive to be honest... It's almost impossible not to consider the value of thoughts with the fairly steady flow of them; their rudimentary worth, relevance to our lives and the importance to the people who have them. It's easy to see how distorted a thought can become when left to constant re-examination and how faceless victim/culprit dichotomies are given grounding by a name or a hover-card. If the last few weeks has demonstrated anything, it's how something as simple as a pen-stroke can release the burden and stresses they invariably cause. I've had glimpses into how fears, confessions, pains and crises can be put right by words creating deeds by changing little parts of the world. And I shouldn't be surprised: we write about things and repeat ourselves about things that have meaning to us. It keeps me humble...

13 thoughts on “Mince & the disappointment of a meal gone wrong: if you cook in bad-taste, your product will be plentiful in it…”

      1. i think of mince as a finely chopped bundle of repulsive bits of unknown origin. i don’t want to know what goes into it, how it comes to be, or that i will find it in my food. i know it exists out there, but i choose to keep it out there and nowhere near me.

      2. ah, i have figured out that ‘mince’ has very different meanings for us, being from different cultures – i’m guessing you’re a brit of sorts? for me, an american, mince conjures up visions of old meat pies, mince meat pies, filled with all sorts of nasty beef parts and suet, and all things unthinkable. for you, i think mince means ground meat, as in a hamburger, which i love, and crave at times, red meat, rare and with juices running down my chin. a far cry from a vegetarian. )

      3. I’m talking 100% ground cow. I usually get roped into making all the patties for BBQs; I always throw in a tray of minted lamb-burgers too.

        That’s interesting – I’d never have guessed. I really have a thing for non-processed food. If I can make it myself I will – that goes for juices too. Your ‘mince’ sounds nasty!!! But your obvious love for a decent burger is making me peckish 🙂

      4. fabulous to hear, nice task to be assigned, you must have the touch, and the lamb sounds great as well – what would have not guessed about me? carnivore? my perspective of mince? nationality? please advise –

      5. Well I’d like to the lamb-burgers are delicious – I certainly think so, or it could be that I’m the only fool bothered enough to make them :p I would never have guessed you were carnivorous 😮 I’m pretty sure you’re from Oz, or the UK, but it’s a guess. I don’t think you’re American… Aussie then… but the time-zone doesn’t work for me – fffft?

  1. Well I’d like to the lamb-burgers are delicious – I certainly think so, or it could be that I’m the only fool bothered enough to make them :p I would never have guessed you were carnivorous 😮 I’m pretty sure you’re from Oz, or the UK, but it’s a guess. I don’t think you’re American… Aussie then…

  2. take it as a compliment and grill away – ah, the carnivore thing, i love everything about meat, except when odd and unidentified parts are involved. i’m a full-blooded american, whatever that is, and spent the summer in australia, have a daughter and her family there, perhaps they are rubbing off on me –

  3. Actually, it easy peasy. Buy good mince, although el cheapo will do. Semi-fry it to outer-brown, set aside. Semi fry some onions, set aside. Likewise anything else you think deserves a place in the embryonic masterpiece.
    Then chuck ’em all into a pot.
    Add whatever spices you desire—I go berserk with chili and garlic powders. Salt to taste, then a bit more. Set to fester over a gentle (just blooping, if that) heat for hours. I think tomato goes in there somewhere too, either as fruit or paste; your call.
    Halfway through toss in an oodle of cumin powder; re-test taste about an hour before serving and make any final end-course corrections.

    I serve on toast and drizzle with grated cheeses. Whenever I’m doing this The Spouse stays well clear of the kitchen and leaves me to clean up my own mess; to add insult she resolutely refuses to have even a lick.

    1. *snort*
      That’s too much – the last time anyone left a recipe for me in a comment-box, it was for home-made throat sweets – I was in the throes of an unshakable lurgy… That’s too funny.

      The next time I fancy a good man-wich, I refer back to this, just to be on the sfe side 😀

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