‘There’s something about making a roast which is almost like a dance’

I should say at this point, I’m not a bad cook.

Share
Related Topics

Now deep into my thirties, I’m starting to feel that I need to be ticking certain boxes. I’m no longer a kid so there are things I have to be able to do by now. Sleep in the dark, smack golf balls with a driver, wash my own nick-nocks. I’ve increasingly never ticked the box marked ‘cook a roast dinner’ so last week I sharpened my quill and righted that wrong.

I’d been thinking about cooking a roast for a while. Whenever I see some adult or other putting one together, it interests me. There’s something about it which is almost like a dance. Moving from fridge to wooden board to oven to wooden board to bin to fridge to oven. Like pasty-faced ballerinas they stomp around; their aprons are their tutus. Their hands glisten with raw meat, peelings infest their hair. There’s a lot going on. Here a knife slicing through a sprout, there a hand plunging inside a chicken’s anus. Increasingly I’ve thought, “I’d like to be a part of that”.

I’ve been looking at hens more and more the past couple of weeks. Casting my salivating chops in front of birds in all the major supermarkets, drooling on to their backs and visualising them crisping up under the heat of my Hitachi. Eventually I fell in love with one in Asda, purchased her and walked her to my flat. I then bought some carrots on Ocado and once they’d landed I was near enough ready. I replaced my clothes with an apron, took my biggest knife, and walked towards my hen.

I should say at this point, I’m not a bad cook. There’s dozens of dishes I’ve nailed over the past 15 years. Mince. All sorts. Throw me some bread and point me towards a toaster and I’ll do the rest. But a roast is different. There’s something primal about standing in a kitchen, holding an actual hen. It must be how our forefathers felt when they cradled a deer in their arms after spearing it on a hunting weekend. Sure, these days shops tend to sell birds debeaked and shaved, but it’s still possible to fantasise you’ve chased down the poor sod yourself. I smothered my bird with rosemary and ketchup, and threw her into the furnace.

I then set to work on the carrots, boiling the shit out of them, and then pouring them over the chicken, shutting the door, turning all the dials up to nine and welcoming the first of the guests. I chivvied them into the lounge where I had prepared some ambient Sky Sports and nibbles before returning to the kitchen and peering through my Hitachi’s window to see if any potatoes or stuffing had emerged. I then finely diced some Yorkshire puddings and whisked them in with the fats and granules to make a sort of gravy. I wiped my hands on my hips loads and drank some Becks Vier.

My mother’s roasts are divine. If anything, she overcooks them. Fantastic. I genuinely pity anyone who hasn’t tasted my mother’s leeks. With this in mind, I did feel sad as I balanced my roasted ‘food’ on a large board. It didn’t have the appearance of a traditional roast. I poured on salt and mustard and trudged into the lounge. There were six guests now and they all had an opinion. One expressed his by leaving, others made faces as if they were from the war and had just seen something minging. CDG ran the knife through the hen, saying “the juices must run clear” but was interrupted by a cloud of blood bubbling into her fist. I pierced the carrots lavishly and pointed to the torrents of clear liquid that that yielded. More houseguests left, we voted on whether the hen should go back in the oven or have a period in the bin and then we sat down to the carrots.

I was pleased to have ticked the roast dinner box and nibbled away as best I could. Occasionally I snuck into the kitchen for a biscuit or some pâté on bread.

React Now

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, Accreditation, ITIL)

£70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, A...

C# Developer (HTML5, JavaScript, ASP.NET, Mathematics, Entity)

£30000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

C# Integration Developer (.NET, Tibco EMS, SQL 2008/2012, XML)

£60000 - £80000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Integration...

Biztalk - outstanding opportunity

£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Barclays are reducing the number of staff in their branches - and giving those remain ipads  

A bag? In the bagging area? Whatever next?

Andrew Martin
 

Who is the winner of this World Cup? Twitter

Dom Joly
Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?