After countless weeks of pursuing Jamie Oliver, his PR agent, his wife and assistants to try and bring you an exclusive to the myth of the ‘fifteen minute meal’, I had to face reality.
The rejection was enormously clear and the reply from all of them was this. “Just go away Tamzen Temple”. So after a few glasses of red, holding the cookbook itself asking ‘why oh why won’t any of them talk to me?’, this hardback cookbook started talking back.
I wanted to ask it the hard hitting questions to Jamie’s 15 minute meal cookbook (15 mm) and it was only to willing to set me straight.
I am however, no closer to any answers. Read and I’ll let you make your own decision.
Tamzen Temple: Hey 15mm
15 mm: Hello, Chow.
Tamzen Temple: Now you’re the actual book , 15 Minute Meals, that Jamie put together.
15 mm: That’s right. I have a lovely green cover with a slip that has Jamie’s head on it and an abundance of delicious recipes inside my belly.
Tamzen Temple: I’m wondering, do you feel some responsibility by misleading people that they can actually cook the recipes you hold in fifteen minutes?
15 mm: We’re not misleading people, of course they can do them in fifteen minutes. Jamie does, he’s tried and tested them.
Tamzen Temple: Yeah I dunno to be honest, I believe the whole time of a 15 minute meal thing to be a conspiracy.
15 mm: Why do you say that? You can see Jamie on TV doing it and it’s timed. There’s no conspiracy at all.
Tamzen Temple: Come on, fess up. It takes me hours, sometimes days to prepare for one of these meals.
15 mm: I don’t know what you’re talking about.
Tamzen Temple: Well first I have to read and re read and re read the recipe to even get where I have to begin. Then I read and reread as I’m doing it so that alone adds probably ten minutes to the time.
15 mm: That’s fair, but if you have everything ready and planned it should be fine and after cooking them a few times you’ll have it down pact to 15 minutes.
Tamzen Temple: Yeah right, like 5 pots, 2 pans, a big platter, flipper, tongs, colander, red socks and a british accent, ‘pucker mate’. What does that even mean?
15 mm: It means cool, great, etc. I really think you’re being a bit silly.
Tamzen Temple: Well maybe I exaggerate slightly but there are a lot of ingredients, some up to 20 in one recipe.
15 mm: That’s right. If you want it to be tasty ya gotta have the ingredients matey.
Tamzen Temple: I’m not a pirate and neither are you so why are you talking that way?
15mm: Hey, the focus is always on Jamie, I’m just letting loose a little, OK!
Tamzen Temple: Sure, ok, fine. Well my argument is that in order to even begin I have to buy these twenty or so ingredients. The list alone takes me a few minutes to write.
15 mm: Just take a snapshot with your camera phone.
Tamzen Temple: Good idea. Then it’s the search for those ingredients.
15 mm: It’s not hard, you just shop.
Tamzen Temple: Ha! You say that but I walk around aimlessly looking for Kaffir leaves, Googling a photo of celeriac and garum masala on my phone and then backtracking to previous aisle as I missed it and had to ask several store assistants for help. Sometimes it can take me over an hour just to shop for the ingredients, only to get home to find I forgot the vodka.
15 mm: Oh there’s only vodka or brandy in a couple of recipes and it’s optional.
Tamzen Temple: But admit it, the alcohol part is good just to have on hand to survive the ordeal. You know a quick swig while cooking to get through.
15 mm: Well maybe, but once you have these ingredients in the cupboard or fridge, that’s it, you don’t have to buy them again for a while.
Tamzen Temple: Yes of course you’ll take his side. How about you give me the scoop, what’s Jamie really like?
15 mm: He’s ok. You know mostly I dealt with his assistants. They set up all the pots, pans knives and stuff. Fill the kettle ready, they do the shopping for him and….
Tamzen Temple: Ahh gottchya. See it might take him fifteen minutes but he has a team preparing the kitchen, buying the ingredients and most likely packing everything up dishes and all afterward. I swear, when the Temple Guru gets home from work, he can tell we’re having a Jamie 15 minute meal because he looks at all the dishes and just nods his head to show me he appreciates the effort I went to.
15 mm: But does he enjoy them? I mean the role I play in all this? They are contained all inside my hard cover and I do my best to present them to you the best I can.
Tamzen Temple: Oh yeah, we love them. They are delicious but I seriously have to start in the morning. Get everything chopped and prepared, then once that’s done it takes fifteen from then.
15 mm: Look I think in the end some people are natural cooks. I’ve seen you in action Tamzen. You’re hopeless, some use me as extra to extend their knowledge. You’re using me from a virgin cook’s perspective. You have no idea what you’re doing and are trying to shift the blame to Jamie. He’s only trying to make your life better. You should ask your taste buds. I bet they’ve never been happier.
Tamzen Temple: That is true. I’m loving lentils and asparagus, something I thought would never happen.
Oh Jamie Oliver, if you are ever in Australia would you come to my house and cook a meal for me and the Guru and the wee one? I challenge you and I’ll set the timer and only then will I believe it is possible. The Temple Guru sends his thanks for giving him something other than spag or mashed potato.
Ommm we send thanks that we are lucky enough to have food and realise this is a first world problem. Xx Peace if I had one wish it would be that we may all be abundant in healthy food and warmth (especially those precious children) xxx from the Temple.
This is a Minterview
If you want to see what happened when I asked George Clooney a few questions click here
Photo from Flickr Scandic Hotels