Thankfully I am not afraid of change which is just as well considering I have totally turned my world upside down in the last 10 months. From Magazine Editor to running pop up bars at food and drink Festivals and playing around with potatoes with the intention of publishing a cookery book based loosely on one written by my Mum in 1989. (The Great Potato Cookbook). This all sounds like fun right? Well it is, but there is also another motivation behind these changes…
In May 2017 my Dad was taken to Hospital leaving me to take care of my paralysed Mum. I didn’t mind being pretty much house bound as it gave me the chance to spend more time in the kitchen experimenting with ideas. When you are cooking on a daily basis for adults with different tastes it can be challenging. I also didn’t want to fall into the ‘on Monday we eat this and on Tuesday we eat that’ kind of cooking. So I delved into some cookery books and used recipes I fancied as a foundation to dishes I would then create. Once I started doing this there was no stopping me and over the past four months I have been playing at trying things that would take me out of my culinary comfort zone.
At the end of May I received a call from the Dr advising me that my Dad was critical and it would be a good idea to get the family around to see him. I’ve only ever seen that moment portrayed in films but the moment I heard those words I went in to an emotionless state of organisation. We did indeed get the family round to see Dad but the last thing I was going to do was say goodbye. There was my superhero, on oxygen looking terrible…my offer of a rum and coke was declined but I saw that familiar twinkle in his eyes.
A couple of weeks later and he was still making mild improvements in Hospital, but it was making him miserable. When I went to visit I felt institutionalised by the lack of personality and character in the single rooms ward. It felt like Death’s Waiting Room and I didn’t want to think of my Dad ending his days in there. So, I asked a question that would again, change my world……’What would it take to get him home?’ – A simple question to see whether we would be able to look after him at home. Three days later a call came through about an oxygen tank being delivered and the following day my Dad was delivered home. No care plan, no discussions, no idea what to do……Would I be able to look after him better than I have looked after basil plants in the past?
Everything has been a massive learning curve, since the moment my Mum became paralysed back in 2011 to this morning, when I have to plan what they will have for their three meals a day. My aim is to start keeping a detailed log of the dishes I serve up. My Dad is very much a ‘meat and two veg’ guy whereas my Mum has more ‘Mediterranean’ tastes. The challenge will be to start with the same base ingredients and make them work for both of them.
Recipes will be posted on my site www.comedycook.co.uk – why the Comedy Cook? Because I am not funny and I can’t cook…..:-) If you are on twitter come and say Hi @HilaryJSteel