Today’s featured Binterest recipe is Jamie Oliver’s meatballs.
The challenge is two-fold:
1) To replicate the recipe in edible form
2) To successfully feed it to my children
The Hugzilla Blog Binterest Challenge
The short version of Binterest is this: the challenge here on Hugzilla blog is to find meals that my insanely fussy kids will actually eat. I find a new recipe once a week. I cook it.
If they DON’T LIKE the meal it gets “Binned” on Binterest – never to be repeated again – and binned in, well, the actual garbage bin.
If they LIKE the meal, I’ll have the recipe “Pinned” to my Pinterest page, but not before I contact the classifieds department of my local newspaper with a request to publish a non-denominational “Prayer of Thanks” in my name, for the miracle I was just witness to.
Jamie Oliver’s Meatballs: Binned or Pinned?
My friend chose the recipe for me and, to be honest, I didn’t even look at the list of ingredients before making my decision. I was more than happy to run with it based on little more than a mild amount of residual affection I have towards Jamie Oliver, the result of a youthful crush I had on him as “The Naked Chef” about 15 years ago.
I mean, how hard can meatballs be anyway?
Turns out that Jamie Oliver’s recipe is like the pointless PhD thesis of meatballs, the kind of self-indulgent tosh that could only be conceived of by someone who doesn’t really live in the real world; a doddering old food academic* who spends all day pottering around in his crofter’s farm, swatting flies away from his organic, companion-planted herb garden and gently massaging the miniature pig he will one day slaughter and serve for Christmas dinner.
I mean, a “large handful of fresh garden peas” (I’ll just duck out to pluck them from the vine, shall I?), plum tomatoes (WTF), a trilogy of fresh herbs I couldn’t get from the supermarket (marjoram, nutmeg and sage) and a curiously hypocritical call for “higher-welfare lean minced pork” in one breath, whilst casually calling for “250gm of minced veal” in the next.
I live in suburbia, so I was forced to use the best nearest equivalent to source my ingredients. The supermarket. I added this shit up and the total cost came to $29.77. That’s an awful lot of money to spend on a handful of meatballs that my kids probably weren’t going to eat anyway, so I was forced to make several amendments. I mean, I wasn’t going to spend a tenner on a hunk of pecorino for no other reason than to garnish the finished product with four artfully-placed shavings of fancy cheese, especially since there was no guarantee there was even going to be a finished product, given my woeful track record in the kitchen.
As a Binterest project, it was a total failure from the outset. Because I didn’t read the recipe instructions, I didn’t realise that the entire process from start to finish was going to take about two hours. There was no way my kids were going to wait that long for food so I dished them up leftover “Slow-Cooked Beef Sludge Casserole” for dinner while I worked on the meatballs.
Key learning outcome #1: Read the entire recipe before cooking the meal.
I was already fuming that I was having to wrestle with this uber-pretentious recipe for a basic staple dish – and that it was going to take me two hours to cook – when my four year old tiptoed into the kitchen with the queerest expression on his face and handed his bowl of casserole back to me.
He had vomited in it.
He claimed it “got stuck in his throat”, but I’m not buying that excuse because I slow-cooked the shit of that casserole for eight hours. I kind of mentally surrendered at that point, and any lingering enthusiasm I could muster for the gourmet meatball project completely dissipated at the sight of my son’s regurgitated food.
I made the meatballs. I garnished them with frozen peas and slivers of Coon cheese. My husband and I ate them. They were alright. Whatever.
FINAL RESULT: Binned!
Fuck knows I’m not wasting thirty bucks and two hours of my life making meatballs again.
*DISCLAIMER: I really do love Jamie Oliver, but I needed to turn him into the criminal of this piece for literary purposes. Oh, and his recipes really do include too many fancy ingredients. I stand by that claim.