Eating is great – better on occasion than sex and certainly superior to knitting – but lest it be forgotten is merely the end product of a process known as “cooking”. Some people are so good at cooking that they land their own show on TV. Others, tragically, never learnt the art of culinary preparation and are forced to live off a staple of Frosties, toast and takeaways.
Ah, takeaways: quick, convenient and overpriced. Most of us have drawers full of menus and are well-versed in the sentence, “Are you still doing 2-for-1?” I myself enjoy the occasional order-in but it was as a student that my addiction to cheap fattening delivered food reached its apex.
Sharing a house with three friends we had three charts on the wall: the first was for the number of drinks each knocked over (“Spillage Mileage”), the second I cannot go into and the third was a running total of takeaways consumed during the term (“Takeaway Tally”). None of us could cook properly – though I did a mean line in meatballs on toast – so for the most part we ate drank beer, nibbled crisps and ordered takeaways.
There was a curry house in town that delivered an entire sack of onion bhajis with every order, a free nan (often complete with embedded footprint) and a chicken madras all for £3.75. This was a highly popular re-dial number in our house. They even delivered at lunchtime and you could eat the bhajis right into next week.
Our other principal food outlet was the local kebab shop. My order of “donner meat with chips extra chilli sauce please” tripped off the tongue like a sprightly elf. Three times I went in there claiming it was my last day at uni and three times they served me a free tray of the stuff. Other than the fulsome lips of a beautiful woman nothing tasted better at this point in my life than a plastic receptacle of strong-tasting umska.
But now? I cook healthy cuisine almost every night and use the choicest ingredients from all five corners of the globe. Like dance music, EastEnders and driving in the nude, I seemed to have grown out of takeaways.
By the way, by the end of the first term Stu was the takeaway king with a grand total of 47. That’s an average of nearly five per week. I was second with 42.