On my list of things to do in 2011 I have the following written:
8. Give up cooking.
So I’m not sure why I’ve just spent $100 on an oven.
(You can tell it’s a good oven.)
It actually just looks like a giant toaster. But with a spit thing in the middle just in case I fancy spit roasting a piglet (a whole pig wouldn’t fit) for Sunday brunch.
I’m not sure why I’ve bought an oven. I think if I stopped to analyse it, which I’m frightened to, I’d discover the reason was: because the ghost of Nigella haunts me.
Buried deep in my subconscious is the need to be a domestic goddess with an enormous bosom, even though the chances are nil to subnil of this actually ever happening (being a domestic goddess or growing boobs bigger than an A cup.) I mean I don’t clean or make my own Christmas decorations either. Perhaps too is the idea that if I can cook I will redeem myself in John and Alula’s eyes as being a worthy wife and mother rather than a half-hearted one.
If I can fill the house with the wafting delicious smells of baking cookies and fresh bread then — God I don’t even have the ability to finish that thought. I still don’t know why I bought an oven.
I told John I wanted to roast vegetables. But then I looked at the chopping board and the pile of veg in the fridge and was like, ‘But damn, I have to peel them first. How tedious.’
I bought Alula a baking cupcake tray. But now I’m thinking ‘Damn I have to buy an electric whisk cos no joke I’m not stirring that by hand.’
But then it all became a moot point. Because I got my hundred dollar oven back home (spit roast and all) and then remembered that last time someone plugged in a kettle they almost blew up our house.
I study the box. It has a lot of numbers and letters on it. I sigh to myself. Maybe I should have paid more attention in physics. Is this even Physics? I don’t know. I don’t care. That’s what dads are for. I have a fleeting thought that what will Alula do when she finds herself in a similar situation in twenty years? John certainly won’t have a clue. A generation of boys has grown up clueless of DIY and physics and my daughter will suffer as a consequence. I’m supposed to think something feminist at this point about teaching her about Wattage or amps and how to change a plug because why are we X chromosome holders relying on the Y people? Haven’t they already proved to us they’re useless? But really? Do I have to? She’ll figure it out soon enough on her own. Can’t I just teach her how to use google?
Or maybe she’ll phone her granddad, like I’m doing.
‘Dad,’ I say. ‘I have a problem.’
I switch the skype camera on and turn the lens to face my oven.
My dad asks me ‘What ampage do you have in the house?’
My dad sighs. I can’t read minds but I know he’s thinking ‘why’d I bother spending all those hours when she was 15 tutoring her through GCSE Physics? For what end?’
‘Do you know what a fuse box looks like?’ he eventually asks as a last resort.
‘Yeah!’ I answer rushing out to look. I’m just relieved he’s asking me something I actually know the answer to.
I return and tell him 240W.
‘That’s not an amp,’ he says in his patient voice, ‘that’s a wat.’
Eventually we figure out that the ‘interevertor’ – this plastic box which my driver bought me and which he assures me he uses to turn on his tv (No, not a remote) without blowing up his whole village – is actually an ‘invertor’ and that Chinese manufacturers from the 1970s just couldn’t spell.
I plug the oven into the black box, plug the invertor into the wall and then praying fervently, turn on the oven, whilst simultaneously shielding my face from any explosions that might occur.
The oven heats up. Nothing explodes.
I suffer a long-lasting pang of remorse because this now means I actually have to start using it.