Yeah yeah, it's cold outside again, the heater's on inside again, the computer's free again, and this, sorry to say, is becoming a habit.
Food. Love it. Couldn't live without it. And I don't mean that in the obvious biological way. The Italians have an expression: "mangerebbe sporco". "He'd eat dirt".
That's me. I make Homer Simpson look like a picky vegan.
Except! Here I am in Italy - a country in which food is one of the great priorities - and this is what the two-legged dogs serve up to me:
While they stuff their gobs with things like this:
I'm told that's Bucatini con spinaci, pomodori, aglio, peperoncino e rosmarino.
Big fizz. It never finds its way into my oversized gob.
Or they grow these things in the backyard:
And turn them into this:
I'm told that's Insalata Caprese.
Big big fizz! I'm force-fed rock-hard pellets of dry, flavourless gunge supposedly choc-a-bloc with chicken, beef and vegetables. The truck delivering the bags of gunge to the supermarket might have run over a chicken, bounced off a bullock and ploughed through a paddock of vegetables, but that's the extent of it.
So, I'm here to tell you, I finally made a stand.
I empowered myself.
This boofheaded Old English Sheepdog stamped all four oversized paws and spat the culinary dummy.
Henceforth and hereafter, I announced, in Dogspeak with subtitles, "I'm cooking for myself".
Barbra, ever supportive, Ms Positive, sneered. "You can't even boil water".
Mmmm. She was right.
So I slipped out and bought a copy of a little-known paperback called Cooking for Dummy Old English Sheepdogs.
A couple of days and a singed beard later, I'd mastered the boiling of water.
Barbra slunk away.
Anyways, here and now, exclusively, for all you frustrated cooks who keep telling yourselves you can't even boil water, I give you the drill:
1. Put water into a pot. Took me a while to get this bit right, so don't be discouraged.
2. Find a source of heat. This stumped me for a while too. I say again, don't be discouraged.
3. Put the pot on top of the heat source.
From this point, physics takes over. Unless, of course, the gas goes out and you don't notice. In which case, you're in for a slow death. Or a quick one if you light up a smoke.
So there you have it, fellow wannabe cooks. Dermott's Culinary Masterclass #1. If a boofy Old English Sheepdog can do it, so can you.
Oh, and I also learned something else along the way to boiling water. You know what? A cliche can also be a truism:
A watched pot never boils.