I live in absolutely no danger of being praised or respected for my domestic skills. My house is not decorated; it’s just an eclectic collection of furniture arranged in the logical places. And, if not for my cleaning lady, no one would want to step foot in it. Laundry only gets done when my daughters run out of underwear and my husband keeps buying new shirts because he has given up hope that the 40 he already owns will ever be ironed. The mean neighbor lady not-so-affectionately refers to my yard as the “Urwald” which means jungle. My in-laws stopped expecting me to bring cakes or tortes to family celebrations about 25 years ago. That was about the same time my husband officially took over the cooking. In the meantime he has gotten very, VERY good at it while my repertoire consists of the same five recipes I had mastered back in the 80s – one of which is the omelet. Cooking in general has never had any appeal for me even though it is probably the one and only housekeeping activity that allows for some creativity. So it was all the more strange that I suddenly had the idea to make lasagna from scratch today.
First I took my one and only cookbook from the shelf and blew the dust off the top. I’ve had it since my college years (Copyright 1981) and have used it at least a dozen times. I like it because the recipes come from the days before fitness crazes and health consciousness, so they all include walloping portions of fats, sugars and salt – i.e. the stuff that makes food taste good. It also only has regular, recognizable ingredients like “onions” or “milk” – not edgy, fashionable ones like “shallots” or “creme fraiche”. It also has a handy “Meal Planning” section, which I always meant to read but haven’t gotten around to it yet. It’s based on the good old-fashioned “5 Food Groups”. (I hear there are six or seven now.) Since my lasagna already contained all five groups, I could skip making any side dishes.
I read all the instructions and converted all the measurements from cups and ounces to liters and grams. I collected all the ingredients from shelves, baskets and the fridge and arranged them in order on the table.
I slowly and methodically performed each step of the preparation. I produced some photo-documentation of my progress at various stages. I found it all surprisingly enjoyable. All in all it took me two hours from start to serving (plus another half hour of shopping for the ingredients beforehand). It took us five minutes to eat.