Of the many household tasks one must master on the road to adulthood, cooking is the most complex and the most divisive. Every shirt is ironed pretty much the same way, and everyone can more or less manage it, but in the kitchen enthusiasm and ability range from Michelin stars to daily Domino's,
There aren't many adults that can't do the dishes or vacuum the floor, but there are people of all ages that cannot cook to save their lives. Here's a few things you'll understand if you never learned to bake, sauté, or sear…
1. You burn absolutely everything
You do not trust your judgement when it comes to under-cooked meat, and you're only sure it's safe when you start spotting patches of carbon. If you squint really hard, you can pretend it's chargrilled.
Regardless of foodstuff, your mindset is that it's better safe than sorry. We know beans probably won't give you salmonella, but why take the risk?
2. You find kitchens just a little bit frightening
A calamitous collage of deadly blades, open flames and searing surfaces, kitchens are chock full of hazards ready to punish careless moments. A spitting frying pan is far scarier than most horror movies, and anything that can cook your food can also cook your flesh. If you find cooking therapeutic, you haven't been paying attention.
3. Every now and again you try to prove yourself
In a foolish attempt to shift your reputation, you had the bright idea of throwing a dinner party, or at least volunteering a course for someone else's. Your incompetence works doubly against you: first, you're useless, and second, you're so useless you didn't even realise how hard being useless would be.
You've been the butt of friends' jokes for years, but the laughter stops when they have to actually eat one of your creations.
4. You can't even understand some recipes
We'd need Google Translate to cook something al dente, slicing and dicing have got to be the same thing, and we still refuse to believe that it's pronounced kee-noir. The microwave, on the other hand, is very well labelled.
5. You've run out of pasta sauces
Pasta is the bedrock on which rubbish cooks build, and a smattering of bottled sauce creates something resembling a normal meal. Unfortunately, you've worked through the shelves at your local supermarket, and the only ones left are unpronounceable and contain suspicious lumps.
6. You probably have simple tastes
If you really wanted to feast on salt-crusted sea bass, apricot soufflés and fillet of beef wellington, we're sure you could figure it out. You could also start learning Bulgarian, become a trapeze artist, or take up the accordion.
7. Your takeout budget is absolutely disgraceful
It's hard to calculate exactly how much money you've sunk into local takeaways, but if you factor in your income and other outgoings it's definitely more than you should be able to afford. There's a set number of Deliveroo drivers that operate in your area, and all of them know you by name.
8. Your culinary calamities are the stuff of legend
Remember that Friends episode in which Rachel mistakenly puts beef in a trifle? Everyone's had the occasional dinnertime disaster, but your table is scarred by kitchen nightmares so heinous Gordon Ramsey would have to invent some new words.
9. It's the perfect cover for laziness
Perhaps we're being cynical, but renowned incompetence is an extremely good way of not having to help. No one asks you to do the laundry if you sneak a red sock in with the whites, and you'll never have to iron again if you burn a hole through someone's Sunday best. They tried co-opting you for cooking – they will not try again.