Cooking up a storm
Hardeep Singh Kohli really lays himself bare in his latest show all about his love of food.
“Right. So. Remember Lassie Come Home? The bit in the movie where Lassie’s ownership has been contested, and The Duke of Rudling who has always coveted Lassie has been sold the dog by young Joe Carraclough’s family, who are poorer than a poor person on National Being Poor Day? Lassie is obviously not into the whole Duke-landed-gentry thing and wants to be back with the poor but loving Carraclough family, the licky-face embrace of young aenemic-looking Joe. There is a tug-of-love moment and Lassie eventually runs back to the loveable but skint Joe. Joe is over the moon and the Duke is well pissed off.
Imagine that if instead of Joe and the Duke, I was asked to choose between having to give up sex or to give up cooking for the rest of my life. What would I choose? If I was Lassie in that situation I too would be faced with a relatively easy choice. I would run away from sex and lick the face of food, so to speak. Sex is great, for sure. But I cannot live without cooking.
I should make it clear at this point that this choice is in no way a reflection on the quality of sex I have enjoyed in my life. I have had some astonishing sex with the occasional super-sex session lasting well beyond the quarter of an hour mark. I’m pretty damn hot when it comes to jig-jig. But there’s something about food that captivates me, emboldens me, takes me to another place.
I dream about food. My nocturnal hours are spent imagining what best to combine with subtle celeriac so that its texture can be best enjoyed. I ponder pomegranates and how many of the bejewelled nuggets ought to be dropped into a citrus sauce to accompany duck. I consider kale and experiment with the optimum time one ought to steam it so as not to lose its deep, ferric flavour. I love food. And for its sins, food loves me, so much so that it wraps itself around my muscular-skeletal system in the shape of fat.
There’s something so beautiful about bringing people together, creating a communion around three courses. The gift of food is very special. And it is a gift that keeps giving. I never tire of standing over a hob, tasting, testing, tempting myself with new experiences. I could spend seven lifetimes of seven decades and still never exhaust all the possibilities that food provides. There will always be a new ingredient to try, a new dish to cook, a new person to cook for.
Clearly it’s a false dichotomy to be asked to choose between food and sex, and more than a little ironic, since I have found that the ability to cook is a nailed-on, gold standard, non-refundable way of inveigling one’s way in with the ladies. Perhaps rather than choose one or the other I should embrace both, food and sex together. But have you ever tried to foie gras stains out of a duvet cover?”
Hardeep Singh Kohli: The Really Naked Chef, Gilded Balloon Debating Hall, 5-31 August (not 18) 7.00pm From £7 0131 622 6552
If you like this, try Domestic Goddi 2: How to Cope at Pleasance Courtyard, 9-31 August
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