Something is cooking and I can smell it in the lift, the lobby, the car park and even in the street. And it’s coming from INSIDE our block. Really, somebody is cooking in their own kitchen… and it’s a Friday night!
I mean who does that? It’s Friday, the night where there’s a mass exodus to eat out, drink out, stay out, freak out. I thought it was in the bye-laws that nobody create delicious food smells in public areas unless it’s a school night, and then not after 8pm.
I guess my apartment block is a bit more Masterchef friendly than most. The two bedroom units have got what you could call a full kitchen with four hotplates, wall oven, grill and place for a microwave and coffee capsule machine. But that’s it, the U shape layout means the only work surface is a corner between the cooktop and sink drainer. And in my case, that has the aforementioned coffee machine plus toaster and kettle. I have to put a breadboard on the sink for a work surface. Stir fries, roasts, that’s it. There’s no room to wield a pasta machine or ice cream maker, even if I wanted to make pistachio ice cream fettuccini. And I do, just once. Maybe the tiny worktop is why Nutribullets are so popular in flats.
I thought it was a law of high rise life that we have a symbiotic relationship with the cafes, restaurants, convenience stores, bottle shops and dry cleaners that locate themselves within easy walking distance of our front and only doors. They open early and stay open late to work around our too cool for banking hours lifestyles so we pay them a bit over the odds for their endurance. And in the case of restaurants and cafes, we are supposed to get a takeaway from each at least once a fortnight to make sure they stay in business.
Yeah, sure the fruiterer has a fridge with meat for sale, but they don’t expect you to buy all the ingredients at their shop to cook a healthy meal. They expect you to have bought yourself a ready to reheat Jamie Oliver meal from the Woolies next to the station. And that you’ll pop into the fruiterers for in-season stone fruit and oversized, overpriced Greek yoghurt for dessert.
I know we’re meant to cook at home, make wraps or sandwiches to take to work, be frugal, save our money for the future, our super, an investment property. But when did your favourite sitcom characters ever cook and eat in their apartment? Never, that’s when. Seinfeld sometimes ate a bowl of cereal. Monica might have tried in Friends but they’d have ended up in Central Perk. Frasier and Niles were always fine dining and finding fault in Frasier. And how come their smoke alarms didn’t go off every time they so much as cooked toast?
How are we meant to resist ordering from Deliveroo or Ubereats when we’re always bumping into their riders in the lift? I recognise them easier than my neighbours. I recognise the number plates on their scooters parked outside. The only cardboard in the recycling on my floor is pizza boxes and most of the plastic is takeaway containers. And that’s how it should be.
I can cook, I do cook, but it’s for special occasions. I drop hints in the lift lobby. “I thought I’d do my slow roasted lamb shoulder on Sunday, just for a change” I say out loud to nobody in particular. It’s only fair to warn people. It fills up the whole building with mouth-watering aromas. I know how annoying that can be.