How To Make What The Hell Salad Pie


cars in pot

“We’re making a salad pie. They used to eat it all the time in the olden days, and we know how to make it. Now we just need to put on the pink icing. You have to eat it warm or else it tastes like poo.”

They made this for me today. I think they might be channelling Julia Child.

“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.”

― Julia Child

They’ve certainly got that in spades! They might chuck those in the next dish. So I’ve christened this dish What The Hell Salad Pie. It could do with a cloche. I don’t think that’d be too much.

I agree with Julia when she said cooking requires a what-the-hell attitude, but think it goes for eating too. Especially if you like to travel and don’t want to lug dozens of cans of baked beans with you, ie pull a Warnie. (EW! Unfortunate choice of words! E-wwwww. Ew.)

After all whoever prepared your meal might have been thinking ‘what the hell!’ as they cooked it. Expand the idea even further, and you could apply it to life in general … except perhaps driving. And skydiving. And drinking, casual sex, construction, owning a firearm, performing open heart surgery, running the U.N.…ok maybe not everything.

I encourage the boys in their culinary forays; they help Daddy with Sunday pancakes, they locate and load (well, more like they lollipop them in) vegies etc into the trolley, and we talk about nutrition, in terms of ‘all the time’ , ‘most of the time’, and ‘sometimes’ foods . Finn is so chuffed he can already get his own toast out of the toaster (with tongs) and butter it. He can also get his own weetbix with banana & honey if Mummy’s around for  damage control. Rory in particular has always loved playing in the kitchen, which was a regular pitstop right from when he first started to motor himself around. He constantly pinched my pots and pans, and would leave utensils scattered through the house like a trail of lollies left to tempt that alien with the face like a friendly turd.

Master Chef at work.
Master Chef at work.

Every night I’d have to search the floor, behind the couch cushions and in the bath to find the tongs or some sort of ladle to cook with. His absolute favourite was a Teflon pot to ‘cook’ his toy cars and Lego in, and when it soon lost all of its non stick coating, it was chucked into the playroom for good. Then he promptly lost all interest in it.

The plan, of course, with all this positive reinforcement, is that one day the boys will want to do all the cooking. If only! Well, I want them to at least be able to shop for and feed themselves once they leave home (…at 18. If only!) No way will they turn out like some of my uncles who, being male products of a generation which had …shall we say traditional… gender roles, weren’t even required to know how to make themselves a cup of coffee. Instant, that is.

If the boys take after me in the cooking stakes we can expect a slow, inedible start featuring crunchy undercooked potatoes baked in muffin trays (without oil), 2 minute noodles, jaffles, smelly microwaved chicken, and scratch cakes like chewy frisbees. For a while there when I browned mince I would cook it flattened out in an uneven sheet, flip sections, then cut it the rest of the way up with the spatula, resulting in meat as tasty and tender as barbecued car tyres.

Toasted sanger + Artful lighting = Cuisine.
Toasted sanger + Artful lighting = Cuisine.

Even after I started cooking reasonably well more often than not I stuffed things up the first time: my first attempt at a trifle (pretty basic, right? Cake, booze, fruit, custard, jelly? Easy.) resulted in waaay too much runny custard and red jelly in an oversized glass bowl. A friend – being brutally honest while helping me laugh at my own failings, as I’m informed good friends should do – said it looked like a jar of bloody sputum. What! (Who wants dessert??!  *dryreaching*) Thankfully subsequent attempts have looked more like your typical trifle and less like bowls of bloody phlegm. *retch, vomit*

On that note, I would like to thank God for recipes, telephones and mums, in no particular order; without which my family would have long since fled for their own safety. I hope the boys won’t think it a preposterous idea to call me for cooking advice one day, and that I’ve collected enough (of other people’s) wisdom to pass on something useful.


2 Comments Add yours

  1. hehehe – that made me laugh far too loudly given I’m in a library and have spent the last 2 hours giving death stares to the loud undergrad gossipy girls next to me 🙂


    1. Michelle says:

      Haha! I’m glad to have caused that response! I love sudden loud laughter, the kind you didn’t see coming. A few times I’ve been watching something with headphones in at the gym and let out a very loud and decidedly uncool GUFFAW which I think actually gave the people next to me a fright. Which made me laugh some more, and possibly made the staff a bit concerned about what I’d do next.


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