04 April 2011

Food Revolution

I have always known that Lizzie is a wonderful cook. Even from when we first started going out in Yeosu, she would whip up amazing meals, sliding big veggie-filled omelettes onto the plate and concocting curious juice blends to make even Korean soju into a palatable drink. She would roll out tortillas from scratch and fill them with homemade salsa and roasted vegetables, to make delicious burritos, or mince kimchi and throw it with rice and chopped vegetables to make fried rice. I suppose it's not just the end results that are so amazing. Don't get me wrong - her food is healthy and delicious, beyond compare! But it's also her natural ease in the kitchen that amazes me, and probably was learnt at her mother's knee. Lizzie has that inherent sense of timing and economy that is invaluable in a cook, so that everything comes together at the right time and in the right proportions.

When we moved to Jeju, she has continued to experiment with new things. Even though she was limited by the tiny nook of a kitchen we had, with no oven and literally no counter space, she would still surprise me by baking bread with a special no-oven recipe, or working out an amazingly delicious batch of homemade paneer in curry. I might be gushing here, but it's a delight to watch anyone be so good at something, and Lizzie has a natural knack for getting even new recipes right. There are instincts for cooking - knowing what flavors will work together, how a finished dish should look, and so on. She has that.

But here in our flat in Dunedin, she's really coming into her own. We have counter space, a bigger fridge, an oven, a stick-blender, and access to all the varied foodstuffs of the modern Western world.

Suddenly, Lizzie is baking fresh scones, light and flaky. She's turning out spanakopita that's vigorous and delicious. She's making pizzas and rich patties of falafel - crispy and hot in sandwiches. She bakes big calzones, stuffed with cheese and spinach and onions and garlic. And all of these things from scratch, and turned out perfectly on the first try!

I just don't know - wouldn't you expect that the first time someone rolled out some pizza dough, that it would be tough or burnt or soggy or something like that? You'd smile and choke it down, murmuring platitudes around your mouthful of wadded dough, because who could expect perfection on the first try?

Instead it's crispy and delicious, spread with sauce and topped with roasted olives and cheese. Rather than displaying a fixed smile, I find myself wondering how I can get her to make it again soon - and whether she'll notice if I hide some to take for lunch tomorrow. The first time she made it!

It's astonishing, and extremely impressive. It makes me appreciate how truly lucky I was to find Lizzie and marry her.


  1. well, now, that means when Lizzie is visiting here, that she will have to fix all the meals, because I will be afraid to!