Have you seen that ad for pasta sauce, with Lloyd Grossman telling a woman how she should be cooking? "Why don't you use the extra-virgin? Don't you think you should chop those tomatoes smaller?" If the smug git tried that with me, I'd burn his house down.
After all, I've done it before...
When I was 19, I lived with my first boyfriend, Stefan [what was I thinking?]. I offered to cook dinner one night and, being from good northern stock, put the chip pan on. I peeled the potatoes and started slicing them into chips. Stefan popped his head in: "Aren't those chips a bit thick?" "I like them this way," I replied. "Suit yourself." But he wouldn't leave it alone, hovering in the kitchen: "The stove's on a bit high." And again: "Those chips are far too thick - why don't you make them thinner?"
I slammed the knife down onto the board. "Right," I huffed, "you bloody well cook, then!" With that, I stormed into the spare bedroom, slamming the door.
And, unknown to me, Stefan stormed into his room and slammed his door.
I may not have heard that, but I certainly heard the window-rattling Whoooomph! ten minutes later. Stefan and I both rushed to the kitchen door. The entire kitchen was ablaze - a pillar of smoke rose from the pan, flaming oil flowed across the stove and work surfaces, and the curtains were alight.
"Quick! Wet some towels!" We rushed around, smothering the pan, swatting the curtains, eventually managing to extinguish all the flames.
We surveyed the damage. The curtains were charred tatters. [And the potatoes were charred taters!] The stove was ruined. The melamine surfaces had melted. And everything - walls, windows, ceiling - were coated in a thick layer of greasy black soot.
A recrimination and blame session in a burger bar followed:
"How could you leave the pan on the stove like that?"
"Me? How could you?"
"I thought you were cooking."
"I thought you were."
"That's going to cost hundreds."
So watch it, Grossman - you're warned!