Even Chicklets get confused.
Baby Spice will be our guest chick in a couple of weeks. And the pictures I took of the chili (for which I make Abigail’s Awesome Guacamole) turned out blurry, so y’all will have to wait until I make it again. Which still may be this week, since it’s one of the kiddies most requested recipes. The writer’s conference was awesome and we both learned so much. But now…
Please welcome Toni, a chick usually not in her kitchen. She has the courageous job of working the night shift as a public-safety telecommunicator in a county 911 center where all of her hobbies are verboten. (Well, almost all of them… wink, wink, nudge, nudge, say no more!) Toni blogs semi-regularly about a few of her favorite things at Write, Knit, Read, Purrrrr. Other hobbies include singing, acting, sewing and flirting. And she’s great at all of them, but her husband gets the credit in the kitchen.
I AM NOT A COOK
Hi, chicks, both in and out of the kitchen!
I was thrilled when my friend Abigail asked me to write a guest post for this new blog, because it meant I was finally famous. Right? After all, only people who are “known” are asked to write on someone else’s blog, because what would be the point otherwise, you know? So being asked to guest post must equal being a celebrity. At last!
Then I checked out this cool blog and my joy turned to confusion. I wracked my brain but could not remember even one time in the 13 years of mine and Abigail’s friendship that I might have given her the idea that I am an expert on cooking or kitchens or food. OK, so she has seen me eat more than once and she can’t have missed me gaining weight in the last 13 years, but being a fan of eating does not equal being a fan of cooking.
Not that I hate cooking. I don’t. I just don’t LOVE cooking. Or baking. Or candy-making.
My hubs, on the other hand, is a capital-C Cook. When we started dating 15 years ago, he told me (in a bit of an overstatement) that he was a chef. After a disaster with some rice noodles a few weeks later, he stopped making that assertion, but he didn’t stop playing with food to create original and usually delicious meals for the two of us. From scratch. No mixes for him.
The hubs can smell a spice or seasoning and magically intuit how it will taste when combined with other spices and ingredients. He is pretty fearless and he will eat the results, no matter what. (Well, almost. There have been a couple of rice-noodle-like dishes that have gone to the dogs, literally, but not many… and especially not in the last few years.)
He takes pride and pleasure in making dishes that make me go, “Mmmmm!” He loves it that he can take care of me so deliciously. He also takes delight in quizzing me. “What spices do you taste?” Um, good ones? “Does it taste better or worse than the last time I made it?” You mean when you made it two months ago? Um, better? “Do you think it would be better with more cumin next time?” Um, there’s cumin in it?
He’s a better cook than I am. Period. So I have ceded the kitchen to him, gratefully. I am relieved to be relieved of culinary duties. And I am thrilled to get the benefit of someone else’s talent and pleasure in that room.
Look, it’s not that I can’t cook. I can. I haven’t gotten to the age of mumble-mumble on fast food and charity meals alone. Not at all. There were years when I was the primary cook in my house, and there were few complaints and no catastrophic failures back then.
But cooking doesn’t ignite my passions. It doesn’t excite my senses. It doesn’t equal “fun” and “play” for me. When I cook, I make something “safe,” something tried and true. I stick to what I know will come out edible and tasty, because food is expensive and my time is valuable and I’m hungry, dammit! I refuse to waste money on food that I can’t eat. And I just will not eat some things, no matter how much time/money/energy went into their creation.
This means I make baked chicken, whipped potatoes, potato soup, chicken and rice (white or yellow), meatloaf, baked pork chops, crockpot roast (beef or pork), pancakes and Bisquick biscuits. I can also add milk, butter and water to various mixes to “make” nummy side dishes.
Surely, I thought, that’s not what you all want to read about and not what Abigail wants me to write.
Then it occurred to me that I cannot be the only chick who feels this way about cooking. I can’t be the only chick who is happy to think of the kitchen as the place with the refrigerator full of good stuff, the place I walk through on the way to the dining room, the place I wash the occasional dish.
I am lucky to have a hubby who equates cooking for his family (for me!) with taking care of us, with loving us. And I’m also lucky that his early claim of cooking expertise has panned out (pun intended) in real life.
And lest you think he got the short end of the domestic bargain, I’ll let you in on a little secret. When he and I decided to set up a home together, I told him to pick one room in the house that he wanted me to excel in, with the caveat that he should choose very carefully. Safe to say, he didn’t choose the kitchen… and he’s quite, um, satisfied with his final choice. ‘Nuff said.