This was my first published article. I wrote it because friends would come to our house for dinner and oooo and ahhhh about how lucky I was to have a husband who loves to cook. Let me tell you, it's a mixed blessing!
My hubby the chef...the real story
Probably a lot of you women who saw the title of this article thought, "Oh, how I wish my husband could cook." Well listen, sister. Before you start feeling jealous, you'd better look at the whole enchilada.
Men who love to cook don't do it so that there'll be food on the table. No ma'am. They cook as an art form, an expression of their souls; in a nutshell, they cook for the sheer joy it gives them, and never for any practical reason. They love to experiment and are never satisfied, even when they create the perfect dish.
Husband loves his recipes, then leaves them...
Here's what I mean. Say my husband eats something he likes in a restaurant. He becomes obsessed with trying to duplicate the taste. If it's squash soup, he'll buy, puree, and spice squashes for the next month until he gets the recipe perfect. Mind you, some of these soups are good, and some are, well, awful. Regardless, we'll eat squash soup every Saturday night until he gets the flavor just right, and then we'll NEVER eat it again.
That's the thing. Even when he comes up with a great recipe, makes it to perfection, and you rant and rave about how delicious it is, that dish will never, ever cross the table again. Because even if he tries, he either won't remember exactly what he did to make it, or he won't want to make it that way again. That irritating little creative muse in his head will say, "Just add a little pinch of rosemary and some coriander." The next soup may be good, but it won't taste like the one you thought was perfect.
Another thing, if he asks you what you'd like to eat, and you're craving some kind of comfort food like macaroni and cheese with its distinctive flavor, you can't have it if your husband is a chef. By the time he gets through adding spices, two or three exotic cheeses, bits of ham and smoked salmon, the macaroni and cheese has become a gourmet delight fit for the Hilton, but it won't satisfy your craving for macaroni and cheese.
Cookin' shows his favorite pastime...
My husband has learned to be a master of his craft by studying cookbooks (his favorite thing) and watching cooking shows on TV (his other favorite thing). Did you know there are cooking shows on around the clock, seven days a week, in every language? I know this because I see my husband assume his "cookin' show" position after work and on weekends. Poised on the couch, remote control in hand, he watches sauces being ladled in fancy ribbons over desserts, garlic pressed and sauteed in steaming frying pans that are shaken, not stirred, and white coated chefs giving instructions in broken English about how to fricassee meats and cut butter into flour. The lawn goes unmowed, the faucet drips - he's oblivious to it all.
My husband collects the tools of his craft as well. Here's how. He wraps huge, shiny metal spoons and other gourmet gadgets and gives them to me (yes, to ME) for Christmas! It's true! Look here. When I fry chicken and mash potatoes, I don't need a lot of fancy smancy equipment.
When we bought our house and remodeled every room, we spent about half our budget on the kitchen. People say they've never seen a kitchen with more cabinets and drawers. Ours are completely stuffed full with umpteen sizes of ladles, frying pans, sauce pans, wok pans, griddle pans, even a pot simply to cook asparagus. We have so many spices we could cover Mt. Hood with a fine green dust every St. Patrick's Day. We also have several varieties of raspberry and balsamic vinegars, garlic olive oils, and herbed salts. And the cabinets are full of exotic, and expensive, jars of things like pickled palm leaves and candied ginger - all given to me as stocking stuffers.
Oh no, not gourmet again...
My husband has found that his wife and children aren't the most appreciative connoisseurs of his craft, so he invites friends over to enjoy (and lavishly praise) the fruits of his labor. I'd swear he thinks we're running a restaurant. He cooks enough for a packed crowd, even when there's only six adults eating. We have leftovers for days. Barbecued ribs may be divine on Saturday night, but by Wednesday they're about as welcome as sharp bones in tuna salad. I was raised during the "eat everything on your plate; people are starving in China" era, and I can't waste food. I've put on pound after pound of unwanted fat since my wedding day.
Here's another inconvenience of being married to a chef. Whenever I'm cooking, which by prior agreement is on weekdays, he comes into the kitchen and turns down the heat on my pot of boiling potatoes and other annoyances. It goes without saying, of course, that he knows better than I do how much heat is needed. I'm not much of a cook, but I can figure out that if I want those potatoes done in twenty minutes, they have to boil like crazy right now. He doesn't do it when I'm in the room, so usually the potatoes are rock hard when dinner is ready. It burns me!
However, there is one thing I will gloat about. My husband can't stand to work in a dirty kitchen, and so he cleans as he goes. He washes all twenty of the mixing bowls he uses, wipes down the counter after the hour or two of chop, chop, chopping tiny little vegetables that go in his pasta salads, and loads the dishwasher.
When our guests arrive they tell me again how lucky I am. Yeah, I suppose you could call it that.