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In praise of - culinary hope.

As someone who struggles with basic competency in the kitchen, I read with interest the news that women finally become perfect cooks at the age of 55.

Farewell flimsy flans; au revoir to soggy veg and meat which could happily be chewed until the end of time without ever softening. What a thought; that these and other culinary challenges could one day be surmountable.

By their mid-fifties, according to a new study commissioned by Co-operative Food, women have become proficient in flinging together random ingredients to make a satisfying meal in true "Ready, Steady Cook" stylee. They also have a portfolio of 15 meals they can rustle up from scratch.

The average 55-year-old woman (they don't mention the men) could also boast of being able to identify every dial on the cooker, distinguish between herbs and, most impressively, cook a roast dinner where all parts of the meal are ready at the same time. Two-thirds can bake bread from scratch.

Don't get me wrong, I can place a tasty plate of food on the table, no problem, a fact which for many years has allowed me to disguise my true haplessness – even to myself.

It took an acquaintance to point out, as I shared the details of a particularly triumphant dinner chez nous, that what I was describing, in terms of meal preparation, was essentially placing things in the oven and arranging them on a plate.

Instead of shaming me into filling a spice rack and learning the secrets of a cheese sauce, however, this shock revelation served only to introduce an element of self-consciousness to my cooking. I still use shop-bought sauces but now hide the jars before guests arrive.

Now with the news that I have two decades to perfect my technique, I see no grounds for panic.

Contextual targeting label: 
Food and drink

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