Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 2014

Like Angelina, I don't want a pizza the action

Two of a kind: Jolie shares my aversion to cooking

Can't cook, won't cook. Whatever the reason, the fact is I don't. I'm pretty much banned from my own kitchen having proved myself barely capable of making much more than a cup of tea and toast. Left to my own devices, I would either starve or live on takeaways.

Luckily I'm married to a man who is a competent cook which I confess has made me more than a little lazy in striving to learn. But of course he can't always be there and occasionally I have to work out the hob for myself.

Sometimes I try to make an effort and will offer to make dinner, particularly on days when I am off work and the chef is at his real day job. When I say make dinner, what I really mean is go to M&S to purchase a meal which involves nothing more than turning on the oven or microwave.

The chef realised long ago that even this easy path can lead to a burnt disaster. When I text 'What time will I have dinner ready?', I get the diplomatic reply 'No thanks, had a big lunch'.

When he was away a few weeks ago, I had no choice but to forage dinner for the young one. Pizza number one was dropped, toppings down, on its way into the oven. Pizza number two made it in but stayed too long and came out black.

Having run out of spare pizzas, I sprinkled it liberally with rocket and presented it to my daughter. She took one look and asked 'Where's daddy?'

My reputation for a having a cooker aversion stretches back to my university days. Before I headed off to student digs, my mum taught me two things – how to boil a spud and how to scramble an egg. And so I spent the next four years dining alternatively on badly made spuds and eggs (and occasional takeaways on my way home from the Students' Union). It's still something of a running joke among my old housemates all these years later.

It wasn't my mum's fault. She's a good cook herself, but there's only so much you can do with an uninterested teenager. Perhaps I was given a skewed vision of a women's place in the dinner rota by my dad who was once a creative and keen cook (no need for a lazy tin of tomato soup – he preferred to make it from scratch).

So is being a wife and mother who can't cook a bit of a shameful rarity? Personally I think it's sexist to assume every woman is a whizz in the kitchen. Indeed, I'm in good company.

At first glance, I have little in common with Angelina Jolie. But she has confessed to not being able to cook either and relies on Brad to keep the kids from malnutrition.

Yes I know she's a busier woman than me. Having six children, an Oscar-winning acting career, a humanitarian crusade and being that sexy must be very time consuming. Where on earth would she get a minute to start prepping a lasagne from scratch?

But this is not her excuse, Angie says she simply can't cook. Like me, it just doesn't come naturally.

Brad revealed she even has trouble pouring cereal, something I can identify with. So before anyone thinks of buying me cookery lessons, I've come to accept it's a talent I will just never have.

Can't cook, won't cook, and no interest in ever changing that.


I think it's sexist to assume every woman is a whizz in the kitchen'

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