The Hungry One has a very special relationship with schnitzel.

Apart from Valhrona chocolate and a fridge stocked with obscure European beers, there aren’t many things which light up his eyes in the same way.

I’m pretty sure it connects to two things; fond remembrance of his mum’s cooking being one, and his eternal quest for textural contrast the other. It’s the gentle resistance of the protein, the loving carapace of a carbohydrate coat that really makes it.

He’s had some kickers in his time. In his mum’s kitchen flat beaten pieces of chicken were once double dipped in egg and a mixture of breadcrumbs and self raising flour (the flour is important to get a fluffy lift that is a counterpoint to the crunch of the crust). Wolfgang Puck didn’t do a bad job on veal at Spago’s, though the portions were in proportion to the sizes of the egos in that dining room.

Actually, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a small schnitzel. Maybe that’s another reason he likes them.

Recently we went to the source in Sydney. That would be Una’s in Darlinghurst. If you can contain your urge to don leiderhosen on entering you’ll be right. Ignore most of the menu. It hurts my eyes to look at it, and that’s not just because of the way they spell Ceasar salad (sic) My legion of blondes*- most of whom I’ve known since I was young enough to think that culottes and leggings with scrunchy socks and hiking boots were fetching all swear by Una’s Jaeger Schnitzel. What comes in translation is a
veal schnitzel with mushroom sauce, claggy enough to paint with,a rösti plump with potato squiggles and a portion of cabbage salad. The plate is full and as big as a bowling bag. The Hungry One isn’t usually one for sauces, but if pressed he’ll usually going to follow the path that has chilli somewhere on it, so it’s a gypsy schnitzel with chicken for him. Most people say you can’t finish an Una’s schnitzel. True to his name, The Hungry One finished his, and helped polish off mine.

The real kicker in all of this, is that when it comes to our house, my schnitzels are a little bit… sad.

I’ve tried to gussy them up with grated blood orange rind in the crust and home made sourdough bread crumbs, but I usually falter at the fundamentals.

I can never quite get the heat high enough. I’m scared to use too much oil. I sometimes run out of egg. I get too distracted by a panoply of sides to think clearly about how long they need to fry for.

This week we had came across the perfect division of labour. I breaded and rested the veal in the fridge and sat down to watch masterchef (a bad habit is forming).

The Hungry One took the cast iron Le Cruesset fry pan out to the barbecue. It was a particularly strategic move. That way he took responsibility for the appropriate textures and it got a direct hug with the heat, while letting the resulting smoke join its fellow pollutants in the courtyard.

I entertained myself with accompaniments; batons of lardons, slivers of apple, a shredded mess of red cabbage. These get wilted together before two handfuls of gobsmacker sized brussel sprouts get tumbled in. Into the oven with a sprinkle of salt and suga and a slog of verjuice they go until Matt Preston has finished wrinkling his brow.

A blanket of cauliflower puree, a tumble of bastardised bubble and squeak and the perfectly crisped schnitzels with a squeeze of lemon is what we sit down to.

A schnitzel’s a good learning for a marriage.

The inside is just cooked, the exterior crispy. The cauliflower comforting, the brussel sprouts a cheeky companion. It’s a winning combination. It seems that with schnitzels, as with life; if you want things to work out, it’s best if you all work together.

* Apology to the Blondes. Only 50 per cent of them have luminous light locks, but somehow over the years, the collective noun has stuck.