now, dear reader a story which will either prompt you to say "Absolute
rubbish!" or "Hear hear, this man talks sense!" It
all depends on whether you are male or female. Ladies hold the belief
that only they can multi-task while men firmly believe this to be
nonsense – they just do not feel the need to shout about it,
all a matter of self confidence really.
Here follows a typical
evening of my life and, modestly confident that I am no cleverer
than my fellow man, I have to say that any member of my own gender
could do this equally well. That is, should he feel that he has
something to prove.
Here is how
I wrote a story, cooked my dinner, watched television, answered
a telephone call and made six loaves of bread all in one evening,
possibly scratched my left ear as well but I can’t be entirely
certain of that.
you ladies say, "how can he write a story, cook his dinner,
watch television, answer a telephone call and make six loaves all
in one evening?"
Modern technology helps,
of course. Below I list all the ingredients necessary for this superhuman
bottomed uncut glass
Islay malt whisky
meal (prepared earlier)
use the American method of measuring flour, i.e. cups because it
avoids having to get the kitchen scales out and the flour can very
easily be scooped straight out of the bag. But first you need the
water. Pour 425ml water into the breadmaker and add 3 cups of wholemeal
flour, then add 1 and a third cup of strong white flour. On top
of this add 2 tsp salt and 2tsp sugar, 1oz of salted welsh butter
and a sachet of dried yeast. Now select the dough making mode and
start the breadmaker. You will only be using the breadmaker for
the dough stage because we want a loaf to look like a loaf and we
do not want a hole in the bottom where the paddle was now do we?
Take your mobile
phone, find alarm clock and set a reminder.
You now have
an hour and a half and, at some stage, you will need to eat so put
some water in the steamer and put it on the hob to boil (turn gas
on and ignite) now peel a goodly quantity of potatoes. Drop the
potatoes into the steamer and add salt. boil for just over 5 mins.
While that is happening put some olive oil in the bottom of the
Remoska and switch on. Now take the heavy bottomed uncut glass,
unscrew the bottle of Islay malt, carefully insert two fingers of
the amber liquid in the bottom of the glass (this won't be difficult,
it always seems to go to the bottom), carefully add almost the same
measure of water. Convey the glass to your lips and taste. Isn't
Now sit down
and write a few notes.
Peel one carrot
and slice thickly, clean and slice half a leek.
should now be ready so turn off the gas, lift the lid off the steamer,
give the potatoes a good shake to get rid of some of the moisture
and roughen the edges. Put the potatoes in the Remoska and give
it a bit of a shake to coat the potatoes in the oil. Put the lid
back on the Remoska.
Put the frozen
meal that you prepared on a previous occasion in the microwave and
heat at defrost for about 10mins. I used a pork chop in tomato sauce
for this one, you could use whatever takes your fancy but it is
preferable that it is a meal you made yourself. Put the carrots
in the steamer, salt and cook on a low heat. Give the Remoska a
bit of a shake.
Search for remote,
turn on TV, get tray and knife and fork. Remember always to refer
to these implements as 'knife and fork' rather than 'fork and knife'.
Etiquette and all that.
Throw a handful
of frozen peas in with the carrots for the last 5 mins.
Put the fruits
of your culinary labour onto a plate, place the plate on your tray
along with the knife, fork and heavy bottomed uncut glass (top up
if it looks like this is necessary, no just do it anyway!). Convey
this to your living room where you will see your comfy armchair,
sit, eat, sip, enjoy.
Now start putting
some substance into this week's story, being careful not to overdo
the facts. When you feel your brain overloading grease two bread
tins and sprinkle the large board with flour. Return to your story.
The alarm goes
off to say that the dough is ready but the phone goes off at the
…. Hello ….. hello"
Yes its one
of those ‘phone calls when you are met with two or three seconds
of silence and then someone announces that they are from the A-Z
Market Research Company and your input would be SO important and
could you spare some time – it should only take about 10 minutes.
After having asked for some further information I lay the ‘phone
on the coffee table and go into the kitchen to see to the bread.
I take the dough out of the breadmaker and split into two, knock
each piece of dough into the bread tins, cover with a teacloth and
put in the airing cupboard for 45 minutes. I reset my alarm.
another batch of ingredients to the breadmaker and switch on. Sit
at the computer and start writing this week's story. After 45 minutes
the alarm will go off so take the bread tins out of the airing cupboard
and put in the top oven at gas mark 5 for 45 minutes. Reset your
proceedings you may feel free to fill and empty the heavy bottomed
uncut glass as many times as you feel necessary to create a good
story. Continue to sip and tap away at the keyboard. When the alarm
goes off the bread in the oven will be ready so knock the loaves
out of the tin, return the loaves to the oven but turn the oven
off. The second batch of dough will now be ready so again split
into two halves, put into the greased tins, cover with the teacloth
and put in the airing cupboard.
there is time to do three batches so you just keep on going round
and round in circles until ....
Put the cooled
loaves into a polythene bag and seal, place in fridge. This will
keep the loaves moist and also ensures they are firmer to slice
in the morning before putting them in the freezer.
By 10.30 the
story is finished, the emails have been sent, six loaves of bread
have been made, a meal has been cooked and eaten, Islay malt has
been enjoyed and the TV has been watched.
Now go to bed.
So, come on
girls! Who said men can't multi-task?
And a reply
has arrived from Anita of Fort William
myth of multi-tasking has been blown by the fighter pilot training
fraternity. Apparently multi-tasking is merely the ability to scan
your environment and prioritise tasks and that none of us can do
two things at the same time – at least not well – try
drinking a glass of wine and catching a ball at the same time!!
Fighter pilots (usually men) are trained to ‘multi-task’
as they have to scan several different instruments, the external
environment and talk to other personnel and, apparently, these men
learn to do it rather well – comforting isn’t it? You
have obviously taken to it, too.
The reason why
women take to this approach more easily than men is that the female
brain is generally using both left and right hemispheres more than
men. They also have more neural pathways between the left and right
hemispheres. So – there’s more going on in the female
brain when she is answering the door on one leg, cooking the potatoes,
holding the baby and writing a book at the same time .... Personally,
I admire the ability of the male brain to concentrate on one task
at a time – mainly because I drive myself mad these days forgetting
what I was doing half and hour ago because I scan the bl ....y environment
all the time and get distracted.
I bet you wish
you’d never mentioned it now!!
In all the years I have known you Anita I have never noticed the
door on one leg. Which one is it, is it your right leg or your left
one? But I am being silly really, its obvious isn't it - it must
be the one with bells on!!