1. The wildly ambitious plans.
So, you’ve finally invited your family round to prove you’re that “functioning human being” you always insisted you’d become, or blurted out “WANNA COME ROUND FOR DINNER?” at the girl/boy/man/woman at work you’ve liked for ages. Now’s your time to impress. Think BIG.
2. The choosing a recipe.
Corn-fed quail cooked three ways with nettle jus, saffron ganache and truffle-infused shiitake foam? Sure, you can cook that. To the grocery store!
3. The spending two days’ wages on ingredients you’ll only use once.
OK, so you won’t touch that expensive jar of Lebanese pickled lemons when you go back to your usual diet of microwave mac and cheese. Who cares? You’re the chef!
4. The chopping the onions.
Such humble, unassuming little bulbs. Just stick your knife in and you’ll have taken your first, many-layered step to culinary glory. Until…
5. The crying.
Oh, the tears. Such painful, painful tears. Just squint through the agony, carry on chopping, and explain to everyone that despite the salty droplets streaming down your cheeks you are most definitely not upset.
6. The bleeding.
AAAAAARRRRRGGGH! OOOW. Never try and cut things when you’re blinded by eye moisture. Just stem the flow, plaster it up and admit that you’ll have to throw away that dough you made because your guests will almost definitely ask why their pastry “looks a bit pink”.
7. The sudden realisation that you’ve forgotten to buy a key (but obscure) ingredient at a critical time in the cooking process.
But you DEFINITELY picked up that samphire. You DEFINITELY did.
8. The mad, foolhardy, mid-cooking dash to the shops to get it.
“Excuse me, Tesco Metro, do you have any samphire?” “Excuse me, Co-op, do you sell samphire?” “AJ Khan Convenience Store, have you got samph…. WHAT KIND OF BACKWARDS TOWN DOESN’T SELL SAMPHIRE?!?!”
10. The scrabbling around for a plan B.
You have three options:
1) Cry, apologise, and convince yourself you’ll all laugh about this one day…. probably.
2) Serve it up anyway, twiddle your thumbs nonchalantly, and pretend there’s nothing wrong.
3) Bite the bullet and serve up cornflakes. You can’t go wrong with cornflakes, can you?
11. The serving up.
Just ignore the fact your guests are only pretending to enjoy it while suppressing their gag reflexes.