A Masterclass





Last weekend’s cookery Masterclass for 13 teenage girls as a birthday treat was, I am happy to report, a resounding success. It was exhausting, extremely loud and the amount of washing up was almost biblical: akin to feeding the five thousand!

The only down side was that my partner was unable to make it, so, and not too surprisingly, the mother of my child ‘Ms Jean Brodie’ decided to invite herself for whatever reason and chain herself to the kitchen sink – wish she would do the same at home but alas that honour is only reserved for when there are people around: must keep up appearances.

Dressed in chef whites, I had the girls make the pudding first, a simple cheesecake that takes all of five to ten minutes. Then we had the one element that I was truly concerned about, the making of pasta. Making pasta without using eggs is something new to me, so it was something of a risk but to my utter surprise, not only did the girls manage to rollout and shape several kilos of the stuff, albeit in an hour or so, it actually tasted really good.

In fact, they did such a good job, combined with a very simple tomato sauce I had made, it tasted better than the dish my partner and I had made at a well known Italian cookery school in town. Not only that, by the time I had the girls handle and stuff the Sea Bream as well, I would say they had cooked and learned far more than we had at the school.

The feedback was really positive which only added to the pressure by my friend to embark on a new career path as a cookery teacher for children. Much of the post master class chat – or debrief – was related to how we could maximize the potential of such a venture.

I’m really not taking this too seriously, but I was amused if not slightly irked by Ms Brodie continuously making suggestions and strategising as though she has a first honours degree in such matters.

One might have interpreted her comments and suggestions as merely helpful pointers but unfortunately, I tend to regard anything she says with a fair degree of scepticism, especially as I have never known her to be organized or reliable in anything she does. Furthermore, for someone of her limited ability in the kitchen to proffer such words of advice on food and cookery I found truly hypocritical at best.

This was all about pretence and not about offering any practical advice, something I am all too familiar with now days. A point illustrated just last night when I had my usual ‘adopted’ daughter over after school as her mother was out or the evening.

After spending all evening playing everything from Little Big Planet on the Playstation for several hours – I cant get my head around that game but hey, the kids enjoy it, we ended up playing charades, which was far more enjoyable.

Come around 11pm, ‘Ms Jean Brodie’ decided to join us after spending the entire evening pottering around doing her own thing in her room. Of course, I doubt the children registered or suspected anything but I knew. I knew exactly why she had suddenly decided to join us: the mother of my ‘adopted’ child was scheduled to collect her daughter around this time, that’s why she decided to join in.  She wanted to give the impression that she too had been entertaining the children.

This woman may well be hopeless in many fields, but when it comes to being manipulative and creating false impressions, she would have secured a master’s degree at university if there was such a degree!


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