The Katering Show answers your cooking questions: My wife is a lousy cook

The Katering Show's Kate McCartney (top) and Kate McLennan.
The Katering Show's Kate McCartney (top) and Kate McLennan. Photo: Supplied

Got your noodle in a knot over whether to parboil your potatoes or reheat your rigatoni? Stars of the Katering Show, intolerable foodie Kate McLennan and food intolerant friend Kate McCartney, tackle your vexing culinary questions. Our serving suggestion? Take their advice with a generous pinch of salt. 

1. Dear Kate and Kate. My problem is that my beloved wife of 25 years is a lousy cook. Not that I complain, complimenting her on the burnt chops and overcooked vegies, dry pastas and tasteless fish dishes. Often I suggest take-away, to save her the labour of cooking (but truly for the selfish reason of eating a decent meal once a week). So how do I broach the subject of taking lessons as opposed to watching Nigella or Masterchef? As I do all the cleaning, washing and most of the shopping I simply don't have the time to cook myself. Thanks, Rainer the cabbie.

Rainer, it sounds like you and your wife have a fantastic relationship, and we absolutely wouldn't want to mess with that important primary bond between you two. That being said, have you thought about polygamy? We will not be prescriptive about this, you two can manage the logistics, but it sounds like what you need is another spouse who has done a minimum three years training in a Sofitel kitchen or submarine galley. In other news, though humans like to think that we are the most intelligent beings on the planet, if you've ever looked into the demon eyes of a cuttlefish you'd know that an animal that smart could probably make a decent chicken cacciatore for you and your wife, before it murders you in your sleep. So maybe consider having one of them board with you?   

Too much parmesan?
Too much parmesan?  Photo: Melissa Adams

2. Dear Kate and Kate,  I've been reading that butter isn't that bad for you. What are your thoughts on this? Do you cook with butter? What do you cook with?  thanks,  Elyse.

McC says: ​Hi Elyse. I don't cook with anything, because I don't cook. But I do eat butter. But it isn't cooked. But it is eaten, by me. And I feel terrible, so it's probably fine. Anyway, you're looking great. I'll let McLennan answer this one.

McL says: Thanks for your questions. Like you, I don't have many friends and my family hate me, so I've never been too concerned with living a long life. Subsequently, I have quite the laissez faire (that's lazy and relaxed in French) attitude to cooking with oily fats. Yes, I cook with butter but I've also been known to dabble with other animal fats like lard, suet, drippings and schmaltz. It doesn't end there Elyse, I'm just getting started! I'm also a huge fan of peanut oil, olive oil, canola oil, almond oil, hazelnut oil, coconut oil, bran oil, vegetable oil, sunflower oil, avocado oil - and that's just the lipids. Woo! Did you also want to know what other non-fat ingredients I cook with? Because I have an extensive collection of vinegars, salts, mustards and ancient grains that I'd LOVE to tell you about. Then there's the actual equipment that I cook with; Le Chasseur pans, Furi knives, Zyliss cheese graters - oh God Elyse, there's so much to cover. You know what? Perhaps we should take this conversation offline and meet up in real life? I feel like we have a lot in common and we could really build a special life together. 

3. Dear Kate and Kate,  what is this new food trend, poke, and is it worth trying?  Thanks, Martin.

McC says: Poke is *reads Wikipedia* a traditional Hawaiian salad made from marinated tuna. And yes, you should absolutely eat poke. Eat all the poke you want. Feast on poke till the sea is barren, Martin. Condemn my 18 beautiful children to a life in the post-apocalyptic wasteland of West Antarctica, Martin, just so you can be on-trend, you white privileged man, or similar. No one should be eating seafood anymore, Martin. Nor should we be eating meat, or dairy, or eggs - because of sustainability - or BBQ shapes, because they've changed the seasoning and they're now a salty abomination. What we can eat is cricket meal that costs approximately $4m per 100g. Or we can eat that lone experimental petri dish beef patty that I saw in a Facebook post once. Or we can eat The Plants Of The Future™ that will taste like a sumptuous seafood banquet but are actually just pond weed. So if you want to get ahead of the trend for once in your stupid life, Martin, don't eat poke - eat all these sustainable alternatives. When their prices come down of course. And they stop being a futurist's drunk hypothetical. Or impress me and do it before that happens. The choice is yours.

McL says: Martin you're in luck because I'm actually opening my Hawaiian Hula Seafood Stand Up Comedy restaurant "Hake Poke Hoke Joke™" this weekend. See you there!    

4. Dear Kate and Kate, how much parmesan on your pasta is too much? Sometimes I find myself grating half the block and I've sprinkled it on before I realise.   Cheers,  Catherine.

 Hi Catherine. First of all, good on you for reaching out. Making a cry for help like this is the first step towards recovery. We too have struggled with compulsive eating, self-control issues and seismic flatulence. But the good news is you don't have to go through this alone. We strongly suggest that you wriggle out of your best friend's bridal party flash mob, start using disposable plates and take yourself off to a trusted GP who can help you to develop a mental health plan, to put the parmesan back in your disgusting hoarder fridge where it belongs, and to finally get your life back on track.