On Cooking

Dinner time in our house is usually an undertaking that could make a Broadway production look a lot like a first grade play about the seasons, where little kids are dressed up like trees and forgetting their lines.

Our household consists of 4 people with diverse needs- none of them exactly dietary. There are no health complications which require elaborate adjustments to dining plans or culinary convictions born out of anything other than stubbornness. The complexities stem from scheduling, and the oldest child’s ability to decide that whatever it was that he loved yesterday, was now poison.

I understand that children go through picky eater phases, and I know it would be unfair of me to suggest that our child takes those phases to epic extremes, but it is pretty bad.

This being said, my poor wife often ends up making 4 separate meals, or at least two or three, at different times by the time I get home from whatever engagement I happened to get wrapped up in that particular night.
Occasionally, if I’ve the time and the inclination to do so, I’ll take the heat off of her and take a run at dinner. Now, my wife loves me, and this is apparent by how she forces herself to eat whatever I cook, and will usually even comment on how good it is. She’s lying of course, to protect my fragile man-ego which demands that we be good at everything. I know she’s lying, she knows I know she’s lying, but we keep up the charade to prevent me from being emotionally destroyed. Ah, marriage.

Here comes another confession from me by the way:

Rarely do I make anything that would satisfy the rigorous criteria that the modern world would consider ‘healthy.’ The majority of what I make is quick, usually scraped out of a frying pan, and slapped onto bread of some kind. Yes, I’m a sandwich man. Aside from pasta (which I don’t make, because I ruin it) There’s very little that I won’t try to make a sandwich out of.

On the rare occasion I’ll cook something in the oven, but I’m 30, and that thing still scares me. As far as I’m concerned it runs on magic. (as will be detailed in some of the stories to follow in regards to baking) Ninety-nine percent of the time though- top ‘o the stove, frying pan it is.

There are two reasons I take to the kitchen. The first being that this is one of those tools I use to plug the gap in my parenting skills. If mommy doesn’t have to make dinner all the time on top of corralling two kids all day, maybe she won’t notice my shortcomings so much. (she does.)

The other reason, is I actually enjoy it. I told someone once that ‘cooking is like sex, you don’t REALLY have to be any good at it to enjoy it.’ – And I’m not much good at it, but its fun. Those  few instances before the smoke alarm goes off and the county tones out the HazMat team to my location, where briefly….very, very briefly, something smells edible? I love it, and seeing as how nobody has been violently ill from something I’ve cooked in a few months now, well….. we celebrate the small victories in life.


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