I am in danger of liking cooking. Anyone who knows me is now rolling on the floor laughing. OK, so in the past I may have hinted that (a) cooking is not my favourite pastime (b) it is not a skill I excel in and (c) should only be endured whilst accompanied by wine (which I may occasionally add to the food).
But recently, I have begun to enjoy preparing food for dinner parties. I will concede that the eating, chatting and drinking bit is still more enjoyable than the cooking part but nevertheless, and I am choking on the words here, I like it. And, what is more bizarre, is that my friends like it too - my food I mean. They actually eat it and make those 'hmmm' noises. Perhaps they go home and cry, lamenting the terrible endurance test of eating my food, but they are good actors if they do.
As cooks go, I am messy. I can hear my maid tutting when she hears the pans rattling in the kitchen, wondering what disaster she will find when I have finally exhausted my culinary curiosity. The cat, if I had one, would scurry away in fear of its life. The children, ever stalwart in their innocence, will pop into the kitchen, sniff the pots and pans, dip a finger in and pronounce the verdict.
Is this new found hobby a result of getting older? Am I in danger of becoming my mother or my mother in law? Or God forbid, Delia Smith???? No, it is the realisation that if I want to eat decent food in my own home, cookery is a skill best mastered!