My husband and I can’t be in the kitchen cooking at the same time. Our styles are totally different. He’s a cooking show watching, recipe experimenting, gourmet chef kind of guy, and I’m an open a can, bring it to a boil, and avoid burning it sort of gal.
My husband’s a cooking snob, plain and simple. He’s never said this out loud, but it’s easy to see that he’d prefer not to share his sacred kitchen with some short order cook who sees food primarily as a means to silence my children’s cries of “hungwee!” This may sound crazy, but I’m convinced he tries to keep me out of the kitchen by sabotage.
Here’s a recent example. Last week I told him I’d cook dinner, and that I was having cod filets, corn on the cob, sliced tomatos, and salad from a bag. Simple, wholesome, and tasty. He sneaked home at lunchtime and prepared a marinade for the cod filets. I found them swimming in olive oil and spices. The tomatoes were bathing in balsamic vinegar, and the de-cobbed corn was tossed with other vegetables to a make a chutney. To use one of his fancy cooking terms, I was fricaseed. I’d been soooo looking forward to the taste of fresh corn on the cob, lightly salted and dredged in butter.
Another thing he does is hide my utensils. I’m looking for the slotted spoon to stir my green beans, the one I’d been using only moments before, but it’s gone. “I don’t know what you did with it,” he says innocently. A few minutes later it’ll be right back by the green bean pot. I’m sure a detective would find his fingerprints all over it.
Since my husband loves combining millions of ingredients to form one new taste, he is always in front of the sink washing and chopping something. If I need to use the sink, I have to wait, because I guess it interferes with his artistry or something. I can almost hear his thoughts, “Should a Michealangelo have to step aside for a mere house painter? Or Frank Lloyd Wright have to wait for someone who merely builds castles in the sand? Certainly not!”
We’ve worked on this cooking situation over the years, and have come up with solutions like him cooking on weekends and me cooking during the week, but even this he sabotages. He knows I grew up being taught never to waste food, so he cooks enough on Sunday to generate leftovers through Thursday, and Friday night we always go out for pizza!
Then we tried having him do the entree’ and I’d do the side dishes, but entrees weren’t enough to challenge his creative genius; he’d wait until my back was turned and then “help” me. For instance, I once experimented with a gourmet salad. It called for purple cabbage finely chopped, with pears and walnuts, and a homemade dressing, garnished with tender strips of grated carrots. While I was mixing the dressing, my husband took one of his culinary gadgets and sliced my carrots into three inch long twigs, tossed everything else together and said, “Don’t you
like how your salad turned out?” It was totally not what I wanted to do with that salad. And he wonders why I get so stirred up.
Last night I was cooking rice and he sneaked in, looked at the gas flame under the pot, and must have said to himself, probably in some cheesy French chef’s accent he saw on a cooking show, “Ah, zee flame eez vay too hot for zee rlice, so I weel turn it not so hot.” I came back a few minutes later, knowing I’d timed that rice to cook to perfection, but when I lifted the lid to fluff it, I found the tiny grains staring up at me through a half inch of murky water. Puzzled, I looked under the pot. It took a magnifying glass to find the teensy little blue flickers. My husband breezed in, smiling, and said, “You had that up way too high, so I turned it down for you.” The rice didn’t boil, but I sure did. It’s sabotage, I tell you.
The only satisfaction I get out of cooking these days is when my children look at the gourmet fare their father has lovingly prepared for them and say, “Oh no, not again. Mom, would you please cook next time?” I just grin and chuckle to myself, “Wee, wee, my leetle buttercups, zee mom-ma will cook up somezing very magnifeek for zee leetle children tomorrow. Perhaps zee Spaghettio’s and zee meat-balls, no?”