Monday, 19 December 2011

Flames and knives aren't exciting enough.

I may have just won at cooking. My usual method for chopping carrots is to cut them, then pick all of the pieces off the floor at once and wash them together before sticking them in the pot. I have caused myself to black out before from bending down to pick them up individually after each chop (low blood pressure, surprisingly. You'll know why that's a surprise when I get to stories such as the time one of my security team for the evening broke his shoe throwing a girl who was trying to glass me out of a fire escape. In case Americans don't use glass as a verb, it means to break a glass bottle and cut a bitch with it. I think that's how you say it in da hood, anyhoo.) Tonight I invented carrot dominoes. A slice of carrot managed to balance just on the end of the chopping board, then the next behind it, the next behind that one, until one came along and pushed the whole lot off the edge of the chopping board. This got me thinking of the other amusing cooking games I've come to learn to play as a student.

Blindfold end-of-term surprise
Everyone knows what end-of-term surprise is, yes? Where all of the ingredients that are going to go off over the holidays/that are left at the end of the year are put onto a table and you try and work out as a group how to best use EVERYTHING in one meal? This one adds more of a surprise element. All but one of you is blindfold, and the one pair of eyes gets to decide what's being cooked, how, and direct everyone else in the cooking. Remembering to remind people that if it's painful their hand is too close to something it shouldn't be close to. (Or to which it shouldn't be close. My German lecturer from college may have just spun in his grave.) If you're not big on using sharp objects whilst blindfold you can just do blindfold pancakes, but we tend to do this on gas camping stoves with naked flames, so it doesn't take too much fun out of it. This is even better if you do it in groups of three where the person who can see has a hand tied to each person. Whether the seeing person is attached or not, they're not allowed to intervene unless the dish is about to become unsuitable for non-cannibals.

Fire-alarm dash
The more fun version of this can only be played in student houses, where you need to get the window open, extractor fan on, and be on your knees on the kitchen cabinet with wooden spoon outreached towards the reset button before the alarm goes off. Generally needs to be played in groups of three so that one person can take each task. Without conferring. In halls of residence this becomes a game to hide the evidence that your corridor set off the alarm AND not be the last ones out of the building/the only ones running, so as not to arouse suspicion.

Milk roulette

You pour a few glasses, so many of which contain the bottle you forgot about during the last end-of-term surprise dinner, and take turns choosing a glass to drink from.

Guess the most flammable ingredient
Only works on camps, barbecues or gas hobs. Whilst waiting for your food to cook, you pick various powdered substances to sprinkle on the flames to see which causes the prettiest reaction. Value hot chocolate beats everything, including branded hot chocolate. If anyone has found anything better, please let me know. For campfires and barbecues, (or houses with a really laid-back landlord,) you can blow your alcoholic beverage of choice over the flames and watch it catch fire. Each person chooses a powder/beverage to back before the game starts and the person with the most flammable item wins. 

Herb or something else? AKA What does this do?
When finding an unidentified plant outside/inside your hall/house (inside only really works with halls since you generally know if you have someone who's into specific kinds of plants in your house), you use it as a herb in your cooking to see how it goes. Essentially 2nd years up only actually do this with unidentified ingredients found in cupboards. Either things that they found in their own cupboard that they'd forgotten about, or things found in others' cupboards at the end of term. This is not limited to things that look like herbs/seasoning, or even 'greens' (with the hope that they were green in the first place). First years get 2nd years putting things that the 2nd years know full well are herbs in their food, but then start 'tripping out' since they think the 2nd years are playing the same game as them. No one actually plays this with things that are potentially drugs, people. The first years just think they do. The people who do cook with special ingredients wouldn't share/be stupid enough to leave them lying around where anyone could steal them.

I would say my favourite game is end-of-term surprise, but essentially ALL of my meals follow the basic principle of 'find things that can make a meal somewhere in this cupboard'. I award myself bonus points for getting one carb, one protein, and each colour of veg. It only counts for green points if it was green when I bought it, otherwise it just gets points for possibly being a vegetable. These advanced cooking skills have made me the go-to person for cooking advice in most of my student houses/corridors. Delia had better watch her back.

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