It’s burnt on the outside but frozen on the inside so it evens out

It’s fair say that I’m a reasonably talented cook. I won’t be giving Delia Smith anything to worry about any time soon, but I have my moments. I make a delicious stew, and a Bolognese that’s head-and-shoulders above the average studenty understanding of a Bolognese. I have a rudimentary understanding of what herbs do what, and my speciality – Thai green curry – has occasionally been said to be the best outside Thailand.

I say this not to boast, but to provide a backdrop for what happened yesterday, when an attempt to cook the simplest of meals resulted in a display of a near amoebic level of intelligence. I was asked to prepare some frozen southern-fried chicken breasts and oven chips. It was also suggested I do the sausages that were – I was told – in the fridge. These I elected to grill, which is pretty much where my mishaps began.

After placing chicken and chips in the oven, I turned on the grill to begin preparing the sausages. However, after searching the fridge I came to realise the presence of sausages was a misnomer. “Dammit,” I thought realising we had to make do with chicken and chips. So I picked up a newspaper to read while waiting for them to finish.

Some moments later, my brother entered the kitchen and rather nonchalantly said, “grill’s on fire.” It seems that when I realised there were no sausages, I closed the door of the grill but forgot to turn it off, resulting in a small fire. I fear I’ve traumatised our poor dog while tearing out the back door with a flaming grill-pan.

This was the highlight of the event, but by no means the only incident of note. I put the fire behind me and checked the chicken and chips some moments later, only to find they were stone cold. It transpired that I had turned the dial that switches on the oven, but failed to turn the one that sets the temperature. We were going to have to wait another half hour for something to eat.

Cursing once again, I set the temperature and returned to the newspaper. A few minutes later I became aware that the kitchen was filling with smoke. The fire alarm went off as I was trying to figure out what was happening. It seems that even turning the first dial was beyond me. Instead of turning it to oven, I had instead switched on the secondary grill that lies inside the oven.

Thankfully, despite the adage about smoke, there was no fire this time. The food, however, was nicely blackened. We eventually got to eat it. It was fine, but not worth the stress caused by making it. The ironic thing is that if I was asked to make something even slightly complicated, none of this would have happened.

The good news is that I haven’t been asked to make dinner today.

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