Tuesday, November 6, 2007

An Incident With Some Mince - The Intro

My adventures in learning to cook are being reasonably well documented, I'm quite pleased with my progress and am genuinely enjoying the journey of discovery that is cooking.

The Rhythmic repertoire is growing and the best thing is that I've started to learn about tastes, about what herbs and spices actually do to a dish, what flavours they bring out and which things go well with each other.

But last week I had an episode that severely dented my cooking confidence, it rocked me to my very foundations and it made me question the whole culinary experience. To be fair, the denting, rocking and questioning only lasted for about 15 minutes but I think it's appropriate to set the scene for you, my reader.

You see I've decided that mince is a good invention and a packet of the stuff should be lurking in every batchelor's fridge, if practical, which it isn't. It cooks quickly, can be used to make a bolognese, a chilli and of course a quick mince curry. Frankly, I'm a firm mince fan and will argue in its favour against anyone of those NGO peacenik types who go around shouting that it should be banned.

One thing I'm getting to grips with is the whole food shopping and stocking up issue. In the last few months I've got in the habit of going out every few weeks and buying a load of groceries. There's no grand plan, I occasionally make a list of the essentials that I need to buy, things like toilet rolls and milk. My planning consists of thinking about the essentials for me and the things I'll need for the girls when they're with me.

But, for the most part, I wander aimlessly around Tesco, sometimes Sainsburys, grabbing whatever takes my fancy. I'm a natural rebel and sometimes I'll even walk against the flow of the traffic in the aisles, I just don't. Obviously I don't do it at busy times, that would be downright irresponsible.

This shopping plan, if it can be called that, is turning out to be wasteful and expensive. I come back and load up my fridge with all the delicious goodies that have taken my fancy. And these are invariably those expensive things that only get bought by singletons. Stuff like gourmet sausages, mushrooms already sliced, loads of differently flavoured packets of microwave rice (a luxury but easily worth every penny) and usually some sort of useless gadget like a knife or an electronically timed bread bin or something. If you've ever wondered exactly who buys all that useless stuff that supermarkets have in those aisles that most women don't venture down, then you've found the answer.

And a few weeks later I end up throwing most of it away because the sell by dates have come and gone and I've bunged everything in my fridge. A friend suggested to me that I should start freezing things and I probably will, but for now my freezer's got some ice cubes and about 37 loose frozen peas in it. My problem with freezing food is the planning and advanced thinking required. I know that I'll end up with a freezer full of even more stuff that I'll never take out because that would mean I'd have to decide in the morning what I feel like eating in the evening. My God, it's complicated.

Normally I do have some ice cream of several flavours in there but, at the weekend, the 11 year old polished that off with all the ease, applomb and speed of a Pinnawala mahout asking for a tip and it's even more bare than usual.

Some weeks ago I did one of those impulse buy things, that I'm expert in. I was in my local grocery, open 29 hours a day, sells everything shop and I saw packets of frozen mince in the freezer. I bought one. It seemed sensible, what with my feelings for mince. I took it home and put it in the freezer, knowing that it might come in handy one day.

Last week the day came. I took the mince out of the freezer.

That's when the problems started.....

6 comments:

T said...

haha, i had this problem last year when i lived alone. i decided i would start eating healthy and went and bought loads of veggies and stuff that eventually ended up rotting in the fridge. after that i switched to take out...

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

T - A bit like Joey in Friends, one of my favourite meals is definitely takeaway! By the way I lef ta comment on your blog but can't seem to read the comment section on there because of the colours.

T said...

i know, im sorry abt that, but blogger dsnt seem to have a 'comments section font color' so i cant change it. just click on the comments link and it pops up in a new window.

cerno said...

At the risk of humiliating myself: what is mince?

Google left me more confused than ever. :| The best I could figure out is that its some sort of meat pastry in a powdered form...

Anyway, as for cooking tips, the best way around frozen veges is to soak them overnight in Pasta sauce. Marinates them wonderfully and there is no impatient foot tapping at the thing whirs in a endless defrost session in the microwave.

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Cerno - Mince is that very finely chopped up meat, usually beef, but can be pork or lamb. The stuff used in Chilli con carne and spag bolognese.

Savi said...

i never do this freezing madness....just buy whatever you fancy when you want..easier,prevents hoarding, fresher and you dont have to eat things just because you need to get rid of them eventually.