The kitchen was full of energy: pots boiling , food processor slicing and grating, steamer steaming.
I had started dinner very late and cottage pie was on the menu.
There are a number of steps to cottage pie:
Cook the mince, using grated carrots and other veg to make it healthy and allowing you to serve a one pot dish. Cook and mash the potato. Put the mince in an ovenproof dish, spread potato mash on top, making wavy patterns with a fork. For extra decadence, sprinkle with grated cheese. Bake in the oven until top is browned and dish is piping hot. Serve.
Instead of yummy potatoes, I was steaming cauliflower – cauliflower mash makes for a healthier dish.
Phew, I stressed, it really is late and I’m still busy with the mince.
My husband came in from work, starving.
“What’s for dinner?”, he asked.
Quick as a flash I answered, “Deconstructed cottage pie!”
Somewhere along our adventures in Johannesburg restaurants and conference venues, we’d seen a trend towards deconstructed food – deconstructed apple pie, deconstructed cheese cake, deconstructed salad and many more.
Strange word. To my mind deconstruct means the thing was constructed and now you’re undoing it and offering the food in separate piles. I certainly wasn’t going to construct the cottage pie and then deconstruct it again.
In honour of the lateness of my cooking, I was merely going to put the mince and mash separately on the plate and skip the 20 minutes in the oven. This I decided in the split second it took to answer my husbands question.
In that moment I realized the simple truth!
When you see deconstructed food on the menu the chef, unorganized and running out of time, is using a fancy word to distract us from the truth.
It worked well for me too!
Now I’m wondering how else I can use this neat trick…..