Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Where's the Love?

MasterChef season is well and truly upon us. I admit I'm a fan. It's that few months of the year when every time I cook I imagine a big orange clock hovering overhead and two short blokes and a really tall one strolling past, occasionally, with their eyebrows raised.

Last night, George Calombaris's mum Mary was a guest judge. She talked about that old chestnut, cooking with love. Ah, love. It's an important ingredient in every meal, I know. I've tasted it many times, and I've tasted its absence too. As I watched, I nodded along. "Mmm, yes, Mary," I heard myself saying. My mind wandered off thinking about how important this cooking-with-love thing is, and I found myself wishing to bring a bit of it back into my kitchen, to see the results on the faces of my family as they eagerly ate every nutritious, love-filled morsel on the plate. Mmm. Yes, Mary. Yes.

You see, I'm not sure I cook with much love these days. At least, not all the time. I cook with a lot of stress (background screaming), frustration (what can I cook tonight?), apathy (who cares what I cook tonight), boredom (how many ways can I add carrot and zucchini to meat and make it presentable?) and despair (where's the number for the pizza place?). 

Today we made Anzac biscuits. Quick, simple, lovely Anzacs. No appliances necessary. Just chuck a few dry ingredients in a bowl, melt butter, do the sciencey bit of adding the bicarb and watching it fizz. Mix, drop onto a tray, bake.

Still, there were a million other things to do - washing to be folded, dinner to be started, lunch to be swept off floor, cold coffee to be (finally) drunk, blanket to be located and wrapped tenderly around dolly as she slept in shoebox cradle - so I rushed it and, damn, I forgot the love. 

I forgot the love and I took my eye off the ball and something went wrong and the mixture seemed too wet and my Anzacs melted together on the tray into one homogenous mass that I then had to actually cut into biscuit size pieces like a pissaladiere.

The result - square Anzac biscuits. Oh dear, Mary.

(They actually taste delicious. If I could work out what I did wrong, I could remake them and call the recipe my own, and maybe win a future spot on MasterChef. I'll call them Squanzacs. Maybe there was a bit of love after all.)


  1. Certainly love has to be in the cooking. When the kids cook, they also make sure that Love is there.... Squanzacs - a great new word!

  2. MMMMMMM they look dericious! There must be a lot of love in a squanzac otherwise most people would have thrown them in the bin!

  3. this happened to me recently and I think it was because it was the first time I added the science thingo bicarb fizz up. I am going back to a recipe without it from now on. Oh how I love an anzac!


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