Hacked for your own good

By Megan Goodacre

Hacked for your own good

Well, it's been two weeks and then some since Megan wrote anything in her blog so I'm taking over for a while.

She hasn't been lazy, or on vacation, or stuck in some Downton Abbey / Last Tango in Halifax coma eating bonbons and glued to the couch. She has been desperately working 15 hour days, pretty much non-stop since September, trying to get her next book done.

No, I can't say what her next book will be, but I can say that it resembles her last book quite a lot, except more next-level. Okay, I may have dropped into marketing nonsense lingo there for a minute, but since I'm not supposed to talk about it at all, a little obfuscation is probably a good thing.

Among the many things that have fallen by the wayside in Megan's bid to write a huge book in a small time is cooking. At the very start she said, "Charles, I love your cooking and I would be delighted if you could handle that tiny chore while I sit in my office, knitting, photographing and eating bonbons for however long it takes me to write this book."

Well, okay, that might not be quite what she said. I think her exact words were, "There's no way I'm going to get this thing done if you don't help out with the cooking, and do you think you could use a recipe from time to time?"

I am a creative person and recipes just take me back to chemistry class where I just absolutely had to mix some clear, colorless liquid with some other clear, colorless liquid to produce some third clear colorless liquid that would eventually precipitate out into some white crystalline solid that I would weigh then throw away at the end of the class, but only if I got the measurements exactly right and only if I heated and stirred the mixture at just the right speed and temperature.

Let me save you the anticipation now and reveal that I did not become a chemist.

So I have resisted cookbooks, recipes, and any form of cooking advice for most of my adult life, and lived (quite happily) on what can best be described as starch-enriched concoctions. It doesn't help that I have virtually no taste buds, either from eating too much spicy foods (often on bets, which I invariably won) or from having allergies 11 months of the year since I was old enough to eat solid foods.

With that in mind, have another look at the meal above that I concocted for a potluck tonight. Yes, it is starch-enriched, but I made the noodles myself instead of dumping them out of a bag, and they are one third whole wheat flour. Plus, there are vegetables in there. It's not "mostly vegetables" or even compliant with any government recommendations on daily vegetable intake, but it has vegetables, and I'm calling that a win.


What does all this have to do with knitting? Nothing. Well, Megan will probably eat some of the pasta salad pictured above, and she knits. And, while I was prepping us for the pot luck, she was upstairs casting on, or picking up stitches or some such thing, so that counts.

Anyways, I'm writing today and that's that. I had thought to include my recipe for this salad but I'm not going to, partly because I didn't invent it (concotions, remember?) and partly because I have a pot luck to go to.

Instead, I will strongly recommend you buy "How to Cook Everything" by Mark Bitman. If you know how to cook already (show off), then you might not need another cookbook, but if you're like me and you need help boiling water this is the book for you. In it I learned to make fresh pasta, which mostly involves flour, water and a lot of flattening.

Unfortunately, Bitman's comments on making pasta salad consist simply of the word "don't" so the salad recipe itself came from "The Joy of Cooking".