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When I first married my husband, his idea of a meal was having half a Pepperidge Farm cake after a graveyard shift or going out for Mexican food. He knew better than to ask me if I wanted the other half of the cake (which he ate in his younger days), although I did enjoy having a piece at a time. But I digress.
I assumed as so many wives did of my, um, maturity, that cooking was my job. At least dinner. From the beginning, Jerry and I each fixed our own preferred breakfast and lunch, and I would plan the dinner menus. At first, I did all the prep for our simple “meat and potato” style dinners. To him, mushrooms were gross; broccoli was ruled disgusting (and it still is, to him). But gradually I learned the foods he liked or was willing to try, and I experimented with more complicated meals, as I enviously watched our gourmet friends cook the yummiest and most exotic meals.
Over time I asked my hubby to help me prep for meals. We eat lots of vegetables and he loves to chop. I couldn’t bear to watch him—his engineering nature would kick in and I would watch him precisely slice carrots and celery. Slowly. But he got the job done and it was one less task for me to do. We also discovered it was fun to chat while we worked, as long as I wasn’t in the middle of converting recipes to smaller amounts. Yes, I would often ask him to calculate, and he would insist on telling me how he came up with the amounts while I impatiently waited for the final sum so I could continue my work. I wasn’t really interested in how he arrived at the result!
At some point, he decided to make big batches of soup: split pea soup with smoked turkey, and a vegetable soup in tomato broth. He now does it all himself. He makes both big batches the same week, freezes them into portions for two, and every Monday we alternate having split pea or vegetable soup with French bread. It’s a great way to start the week and he makes a killer soup.
In the last five years or so, we started to share cooking duties. He enjoyed cooking certain dishes, like stir fry, and I liked to make the Caesar salads. The more we cooked together, the more prep I did and the more cooking he did. Suddenly I realized one day that he was not only doing the cooking, but he was prepping, too! (He’s very fussy about how he slices sweet peppers and sweet onions.) He gets nervous when I’m dicing things—I nearly sliced off my finger one day—so he began doing everything!
So nowadays, we have a very adept Chef. I still make out the menus for the week, but I always consult him first. When we have chicken, I encourage him to use whatever recipe he would like: chicken piccata, garlic chicken, Asian chicken, breakfast chicken (made with crushed corn flakes), and several other recipes. He follows a recipe for brisket with onions, potatoes, and carrots; taco bowls; and sausage lentil stew. Sometimes I go through the motions of asking if I can help, or he will ask me, if he didn’t allow enough prep time, but basically, he does it all. Am I lucky or what?!
I’m happy to pour the wine.
And we have a new live-in Chef!Published in