I had to hand over to Himself for cooking duty for invited guests

By Justine O'Mahony

Published 21/07/2015 | 00:00

Justine O'Mahony.
Justine O'Mahony.

Someone close to me hasn't been well recently and I have been tasked with helping look after her.

I'm actually quite good at looking after people when they're sick.

I'll mop their brows, take their temperature, hold the puke bowl, rub their back and fluff their pillows. No bother at all. Just don't ask me to cook for them!

It's been well documented in this column that I am a terrible cook. Everyone who knows me knows I am a terrible cook either from first hand experience or from hearing it from someone who has had the misfortune of eating one of my meals.

It's very strange really because I love watching cookery programmes and I love food but no matter what I cook it just seems to result in an unsightly mess. I have been accused in the past of not following instructions which is probably quite true. I've never followed a recipe exactly as it is written and have a tendency to not measure ingredients and substitute or leave elements out all together.

It's one thing giving food poisoning to a healthy person, I'd get over that fairly fast, but I couldn't have it on my conscience if I poisoned a sick person. I'd never forgive myself.

So The Patient was invited for lunch last Sunday and I spent the entire weekend googling protein rich diets.

Given my level of expertise there really wasn't much choice so it was either going to be chicken or turkey. I've never cooked a turkey and my chicken is, shall we say unique, so in the end Himself decided it was much safer if he cooked dinner, a result I was hoping for all along.

He can cook the basics, but at least he cooks them well. In the end we decided that although not a typical Sunday dinner, he would do steak and chips because a) his chips are fabulous and b) his steak is pretty damn good too.

I was put on starters and when our guests arrived I unveiled them with a flourish - smoked salmon on brown bread! 'It's full of protein,' I explained. 'And you don't have to cook it,' our other guest remarked.

The mains went down a treat with everyone cleaning their plates. All that was left was dessert. I had tracked down a wonderfully rustic looking chocolate and raspberry roulade in the local deli that I reckoned would pass as homemade if I put it on one of my own plates.

'Look what I made for you!' I said triumphantly as I showed them the roulade. A fleeting look of panic passed over our unwell guest's face. 'You didn't make that did you?' she inquired nervously.

I am a terrible liar. I knew I'd never get away with pretending I had so I admitted the truth. 'No. You're not that sick,' I said.

She heaved a sigh of relief before accepting a plate.

'Thanks be to God I'm not!'

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