Now, I realise that I may be to the culinary arts what Wayne Rooney is to the pin-up industry, but this one even exceeded my own appalling standards.
One of only a handful of things I can do tolerably well in the kitchen (apart from washing up) is cheese on toast.
I know. It’s hardly Delia, is it? But hey, simple things, you know. And I’ve learned how to do it in the microwave, so I’m even in and out before you can say: “There’s another pile of washing up.”
Or at least I thought I’d learned how. Because the other week I managed to bodge up even this scarcely MasterChef-level task.
It was all going so well. That is to say, I’d pre-toasted the bread, and remembered to put some cheese on top (hey look, that’s good for me).
But then it all went horribly wrong. I’d somehow managed to completely nuke it, and instead of a delicious nutritious snack (well, sort of), I got this rock-hard yellow and brown thing. Seriously, the bread was ... brittle.
I panicked. I mean, I ate it, obviously (and I have to tell you it was fairly unpleasant). But I panicked, because: a) this was a mind-blowingly simply task, and inexplicably I’d managed to completely screw it up, and b) at a stroke I’d reduced my culinary repertoire from two dishes to one (the other being pancakes) (pre-cooked ones, obviously, I hasten to add).
How could I have got this so wrong? I could have sworn you were supposed to put it in for two minutes. Suddenly, the very idea of two minutes in a microwave seemed like an eternity – and yet I was convinced that was what I’d done before.
Eventually I realised what had happened. Yes, I WAS supposed to do it for two minutes (phew! – so I’m not going completely mad after all). What I wasn’t supposed to do was actually microwave it for two minutes – I was supposed to press the button marked “Grill” instead ...
Hey, it was an easy mistake to make – I’m sure Jamie Oliver must do it all the time. Well all right, I’m prepared to concede that he’s never done it before in his life – but if you say: “You only had to press the right button!” one more time I shall get jolly cross.
When I confessed all to The Other Half later on, she said: “Did you put it on the metal grill stand?” Of course, I said proudly, thinking: “Even I know you’re supposed to do that!”
“Well you’re lucky the whole thing didn’t explode, then,” she said. “You’re not supposed to put metal in a microwave!”
Crikey, I thought, this making cheese on toast lark is a hell of a lot more dangerous than I’d given it credit for.
But then she came back with a retort that, quite frankly, was a bit below the belt: “Do you remember what happened the last time you put tin foil in the microwave?”
Er, yes. It sparked, went bang, and the inside went black.
Oh lor. Pancakes it is from now on, then!