Sunday, 6 July 2008

I cooked Bang Bang Chicken. This is not a joke.

There are many reasons I hate cooking. Firstly, I’m very bad at it. Secondly, it’s boring. Really, really boring. Thirdly, every time I spend an hour making something by hand, I remember that I can go and pay someone else a quarter of the price and they’ll make me something that actually tastes like food. Fourthly, it’s boring. Fifthly…

I could go on, but I won’t – except to reiterate how boring I find cooking to be. Today, however, I made a meal of my own volition.

I promised Yu that I would cook her a meal, and in typical female style she went ahead and remembered. Now, I can cook a very limited number of meals: chicken fajitas being the main one, as long as I have a Old El Paso packet mix to hand. I can do an alright steak and a mean fry-up, but that’s the limit of my abilities. Today, on the other hand, I cooked Bang Bang Chicken, a Chinese dish.

Obviously, I used a recipe. Instead of using a book, which I can’t stand, or the internet, which annoys me, I bought a copy of Cooking Guide: Can’t Decide What To Eat? for the Nintendo DS.

Cooking Guide is an odd program. For a start, it’s not a game, though it pretends to be one. It has 245 recipes on it, from various countries round the world. The idea is that you buy the ingredients and then it talks you through the process of actually cooking a tasty meal.

It talks you through well enough, breaking down complicated bits (like slicing cucumbers properly) into simple nuggets, but the problem with the program arises when you have to talk back. In order to stop the DS getting covered in greasy food-alike, the program can be worked through using simple voice commands: “Continue”, “Go Back”, “Repeat” and so on. Which would be great if the voice recognition software wasn’t always in a pissy mood.

Yes, I stood and yelled “Continue” into the microphone twenty times, only for it to interpret the sound of me picking up the knife as “Go Back”. It’s like being in the kitchen with an actual chef: he’s a moron and won’t listen to a bloody word you say.

Despite this, it’s a really good program. The recipes are uniformly attractive, although there are a few too many that involve oysters or clams. If an ingredient is difficult to find, it has suggestions for alternatives, which is useful. And my Bang Bang Chicken was very, very good.

I won’t go as far as to suggest that I enjoyed cooking my meal. I didn’t, even though the program gave me a little stamp and a sparkly display to mark the occasion. But I am seriously considering following the recipe for good ol’ fish and chips from the UK, because deep-frying things looks like it could be dangerous.


Lily said...

You actually really like this chick don't you? Crikey, I remember the days of Scaggy Chicken in Easton & Macdonalds Fridays. Remember that homemade pizza you & the visiting chick (her name escapes me) made? Not quite the success of your Bang Bang chicken I fear...I like that your computer console actually got you to cook too, good work sir. And keep up the blogging too, I'm enjoying it :)

notwelshman said...

Technically, I didn't cook at all when the "visiting chick" (Sara) came over; she baked a large quantity of bread, and then I made a pizza when she left.

I seem to remember the problem being that we had nowhere warm in the house - no airing cupboard or anything - that I could leave the pizza base to rise in. Setting the oven to a low heat was, for some reason, impossible, though I forget why. I think I just put on the heater - the one that leaked poisonous fumes and went on to melt the telly - and suspended the base over it for half a day.

I seem to remember getting ill not long after that.