How my Wife Taught Me to Cook

Can You Keep a Secret?

Reader Challenge

The first thing that I have to insist on from the reader is that you never under any circumstances share this little story with my wife. She is a wonderful person and has a good laugh at this stuff, too. However, she probably would be a bit sour if she knew that I was sharing this with the world. So if you cannot keep a secret, then stop reading right here and click away from this page.

Some Things are Inherited

Here's the reason for those of you who stayed with me and have sworn yourselves to secrecy: My wife cannot tell the difference between paprika and cayenne. Although this is noteworthy, it is not something that should hurt someones feelings.
Picture this scene: New wife, new husband, wife is stay at home housewife for a couple of months. So she decides that she will be completely domestic and decorates the apartment, and cleans, and cooks. Mind you, she has had no culinary instruction, her mother cooked roast beef by boiling it. Her mom's special spaghetti consisted of chef-boy-ardee. The kind that was dinner in a box, small can of tomato sauce, packet of cheese, and ¼ pound of spaghetti. This she proudly served to us while visiting and she had doubled the amount by using two packages. I was a good son-in-law/husband and raved about the meatless mess. My wife and mother-in-law were delighted. So it went for the next 10 days.

The first lesson: Pork Chops

Back to the paprika vs. cayenne controversy. Both are delightful seasonings, one is used in abundance for a special flavor, the other is used sparingly to create a special flavor. Both of them are incredible and wonderful. However it is important to use more than color to distinguish the two, something that still eludes my wife.

The new husband comes home to the loving arms of his wife. Those were special days. She is warm, beautiful, witty, intelligent and everything a man wants in a woman. She decorates beautifully, keeps an impeccable house, and cooks a special dinner of salad, vegetable, and pork chops. The table is set to perfection, and dinner is ready. Everything looks wonderful and the love and energy to make everything perfection abounds. I started to drool for more than one reason. I had it made. The pork chops looked exactly like a magazine photo of red paprika pork chops. Yum! I sat and thought, “This is the life.”
Then I tasted the pork chops. Holy cow! I never in my life tasted anything like that!   These pork chops were the most blazing, hot, burning thing I ever tasted in my life!
She asks, “How is it?”
I respond, “It might be just a little on the hot side. Maybe we should have some milk with our dinner?” She takes a taste of her pork chop and then looks at me and tears start to run down her face. I plead, “Please don't cry, it isn't that bad.”
She starts laughing and says, “I'm not crying you fool, my mouth is burning off. My eyes won't quit watering.” Then we both laughed and ate our dinner of salad and vegetable.

This was my first cooking lesson. If I ever wanted pork chops, I was going to have to cook them myself.

Meatballs in Goop!
Meatballs in Goop!

Second Lesson: Meat Balls

My second cooking lesson was not long after the first one. Lesson number two was all about the gravy and sauces. My gorgeous wife had observed me making gravy with corn starch. So she knew what ingredients she wanted. Her goal was to provide a dinner of meatballs in red sauce, thickened and served over pasta. She browned the meat balls on the top of the stove. I have no idea what was in them. Then she mixed a bottle of ketchup with a box of corn starch. This made a lovely red sauce. Then she put the meatballs in the sauce and mixed them in. Then she put it all in a clear glass casserole dish and baked it in the oven. Again everything was perfect and when she served the conglomeration it actually looked pretty good. I decided to dig in and no matter what it tasted like, I was going to like it. At first I used a serving spoon but it was to hard to dish out with a spoon, so I got a knife and started to saw. This proved to be futile as well. I then got a large grilling fork and shoved that into the hard mass. This turned the dish over and the contents slipped out in a solid mass onto the table top. We were both laughing uncontrolled. I calmly placed the whole thing on my plate and started to hack away with my fork and knife on the soft underbelly of the monster. I was able to carve the meatballs out of the hard shell they were encased in. The sauce was not edible , it was far too hard. The meatballs were not so bad. My wife told me we could just throw that stuff out but I insisted that we eat the meatballs. It may not have been perfect, but it was really a fun time.

This was my second cooking lesson. If I wanted to have a dinner of meatballs and gravy, I would have to cook it myself.

It should be done!
It should be done!

Holiday Cooking

Holiday cooking lessons started with thanksgiving. Did I learn a lot that first year. My wife insisted that she cook a thanksgiving dinner for me and some of our friends, by this time she was starting to use recipes from time to time. She figured that she could make mashed potatoes and gravy. Dressing and turkey. I could have the responsibility of making a relish tray. Our friends would bring a favorite side dish.

She began by studying a cookbook, out came the calculator and through careful mathematics she came up with 6 hours in the oven for a 15 pound turkey. That seemed right to me. She was so sure of herself I just stayed out of it and did my part and entertained our guests. At about the 4 hour mark, she took the turkey out of the oven to baste it. She said to me, I think there might be something wrong. I agreed since the turkey was looking just like it did when it went into the oven. When I inquired as to the temperature that she was cooking, she replied 180 degrees. What? I informed her that the temperature was too low. She insisted that the recipe said that the internal temperature of the turkey had to be 180 degrees and should be cooked for 20 minutes per pound. I said yes but at about 350 degrees. Boy did we laugh at that one. That turkey would have taken about 40 hours to cook. We just turned the temperature up on the oven to 400 degrees for an hour and then turned it down. The turkey was cooked just fine and it provided a wonderful source of entertainment for all of us, especially when we found a paper sack in the neck cavity with the giblets still in the cooked turkey. After that, I have always cooked the turkey.

I should be skinny!

At some point my dear wife invented glop. Glop my friends is a one pan meal. Usually her meals are not recognizable and so I refer to them as glop. She does not like to cook so she generally cooks enough glop to last several days. Like macaroni noodles with cheese and hot dogs cut up in small rounds and a can of mixed vegetables. This was made in sufficient quantities to feed two people for at least 3 days. I obediently ate the glop and told her it was good because I am lazy and I don't want to cook all the time. I should be skinny.

My Mistress!
My Mistress!

My Mistress

Here is my secret: I have a mistress. I have kept this mistress handy for the last 35 years. She has served me well and she has kept me fat, I just can’t give her up. My mistress is any "Fast Food Franchise" and I see one every chance I can. On the way to the hardware store and on the way to the post office, library, etc.

In the years since that first thanksgiving, she has become a pretty good cook. We now cook differently so it can be healthy.
My wife and I have an arrangement, I cook, she cleans up the mess. If she cooks, nothing is said except thank you!

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Comments 39 comments

Pcunix profile image

Pcunix 6 years ago from SE MA

Very funny - good job :-)

I'm lucky - my wife is an incredibly good cook and she mostly taught herself. She will hardly ever use a recipe, she just has great food sense - she knows how it all works in her head. Her food is always interesting, healthy and tastes great.

In fact, I don't like going out to eat because it is almost never as good!

SteveoMc profile image

SteveoMc 6 years ago from Pacific NorthWest Author

You lucky dog! I might have to do all the cooking from now on, my wife came in from her computer and was mumbling something like, "How could you, will you stop at nothing for your writing?" And now I am getting the cold shoulder. I better run to the store and buy her a pie.

Feline Prophet profile image

Feline Prophet 6 years ago from India

Hehe...your wife has my sympathies! As one who has made several such similar culinary gaffes, I know exactly how it feels - luckily my husband was as sporting about my mistakes as you seem to be! :)

breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 6 years ago

Great hub that started my morning off with a smile. My first meal as a married woman was linguini with clam sauce. The sauce came from a can which would have been evident because as I poured the clam sauce over the linguini the bright shiny top of the can popped out. It looked great on top of the dish!

Jai Warren profile image

Jai Warren 6 years ago from Dallas, Deep Ellum, Texas

Your wife should be proud of herself for trying. I commend her! Great Hub, Steve! How about, on her next special occasion, give her a gift certificate for a cooking class? I have to admit, I did laugh out loud at the meatballs and cornstarch episode. :) Ciao!

lorlie6 profile image

lorlie6 6 years ago from Bishop, Ca

I'm not buying it, SteveoMc-I'll bet your wife went into gales of laughter reading this hub! You sound like a wonderful pair able to laugh at culinary crises!

samiaali profile image

samiaali 6 years ago

OMG SteveoMc, this is such a funny story! I could just picture your wife with the tears rolling down her face and then both of you laughing. I, like Jai Warren, was laughing out loud when I read the meatball part. Thanks for a very funny Hub!

wychic profile image

wychic 6 years ago from Sheridan, Wyoming

Lol...great hub! This sounds similar to what scenes in my own home could have been like, except that my husband has assumed the role of cook from the beginning. All I really had to do was describe some of my mother's cooking, and he never really wanted to see how well I learned my lessons from her. We have it figured out very well...he cooks all the time, and we split the dish washing duties.

De Greek profile image

De Greek 6 years ago from UK

We men of steel can bear anything for the sake of harmony in the home :-))

Rafini profile image

Rafini 6 years ago from Somewhere I can't get away from

You're lucky she has a good sense of humor about it :D Some women go 50 years or more crying over a cup of sage in the stuffing.

A well written hub, btw.

SteveoMc profile image

SteveoMc 6 years ago from Pacific NorthWest Author

Feline Prophet Always love to see you here. Being sporting about it is part of the relationship, It makes a situation that could be bad a fun time instead. Thanks for reading.

SteveoMc profile image

SteveoMc 6 years ago from Pacific NorthWest Author

breakfastpop Clam sauce out of a can, hahaha. I hope you lernt' to toss the lid in the trash after that. One time I made a sweet roll with artificial sweetener, the recipe called for one package of sweetener. I thought it meant the whole box, I put it all in and discovered that my beautiful rolls were so bitter and loaded with enough chemicals to kill a lab rat. Thanks for reading.

SteveoMc profile image

SteveoMc 6 years ago from Pacific NorthWest Author

Jai Warren If I gave her a gift certificate for cooking classes, I would be wearing it on my head. Oh well, maybe it would cover the bald spot. Hey wait a minute, there is no bald spot, now there is only one hairy spot. LOL

SteveoMc profile image

SteveoMc 6 years ago from Pacific NorthWest Author

lorlie6 Well, my wife is a good sport, but she tries not to encourage me, so she laughs only when she is talking to her sister which is, let me check, 1800 minutes last month not counting text messages.

SteveoMc profile image

SteveoMc 6 years ago from Pacific NorthWest Author

samiaali Thanks for the read. I'm glad people are enjoying this hub, the meatball story has provided me with lots of enjoyment over the years. I consider myself lucky that the least of my worries is what is cooked for dinner.

SteveoMc profile image

SteveoMc 6 years ago from Pacific NorthWest Author

wychic You are a clever one aren't you? You just used your superior thinking ability to get out of a lifetime of cooking. Way to go. LOL

SteveoMc profile image

SteveoMc 6 years ago from Pacific NorthWest Author

De Greek Nerves of steel and a stomach of steel as well to eat all these culinary delights and then complement the cook. You read me like a book. Thanks for the read.

SteveoMc profile image

SteveoMc 6 years ago from Pacific NorthWest Author

Rafini I know I am lucky, and I want to know more about this powerful sage, only one cup can control someone for 50 years. LOL Thanks for reading.

katrinasui profile image

katrinasui 6 years ago

hahahahahha. Very well written.

drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida

Steve - while my children were growing up, I was the chief cook and bottle-washer, but cooking was never my favorite thing to do. Now my favorite thing to do for dinner is make . . . reservations.

Thanks for a very funny read - some of it very close to home.

agusfanani profile image

agusfanani 6 years ago from Indonesia

A funny great hub ! Thanks for introducing me to your mistress !.

SteveoMc profile image

SteveoMc 6 years ago from Pacific NorthWest Author

katrinasui Glad to provide a chuckle for you....thanks for reading. You getting a laugh out of this is the highest complement. I appreciate it.

SteveoMc profile image

SteveoMc 6 years ago from Pacific NorthWest Author

drbj LOL make reservations, I like that one too. Glad to have you as a regular reader. Thank you.

SteveoMc profile image

SteveoMc 6 years ago from Pacific NorthWest Author

agusfanani Oh she is an evil mistress! She has practically ruined my life, well maybe my cholesterol. Thanks for coming to read my hub.

gqgirl profile image

gqgirl 6 years ago from Georgia

Your wife and I would get along perfect! lol I make my hubby do all the cooking just because I know I can't!

FashionFame profile image

FashionFame 6 years ago from California

Nice hub. Joining your fan club to stay connected and would like to invite you too.

DaniS74 profile image

DaniS74 6 years ago

Very endearing. I met my husband when he offered me cooking lessons. Turns out, I actually can cook, when I don't have a million distractions, I can cook quite delicious meals too.

Ben Zoltak profile image

Ben Zoltak 6 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

Great stuff Steve, up north here in Wisconsin I don't read or write as much as paint in the warmer months so I haven't had much to say in a while, but this article was a gas.

She starts laughing and says, “I'm not crying you fool, my mouth is burning off. My eyes won't quit watering.”

There's some true love right there!

Cayenne is a fickle red beast! Great but it has it's own heat. Man, I'm staying away from the glop!!!!!! lol


SteveoMc profile image

SteveoMc 6 years ago from Pacific NorthWest Author

Ben One of my favorite authors! Thanks for the read...I missed seeing you. WE no longer eat glop. Thank goodness! I am glad you enjoyed it. I hope I don't hear from you again too soon, I don't want the summer to end, lol.

mquee profile image

mquee 6 years ago from Columbia, SC

Hi Steve, very entertaining and enjoyable hub. For years as a single parent I had to do all of the cooking, since remarrying a few years ago, I have a wife who loves to cook. I lucked out and I should be fat by now because she can really cook!! Great to see that you and your wife have come to, what sounds like a very good arrangement. Thanks for sharing an enjoyable piece with us.

SteveoMc profile image

SteveoMc 6 years ago from Pacific NorthWest Author

mcquee thanks for the read and for the comments. You are either lucky or cursed, I can't decide. I love to eat but I should watch everything I eat carefully. What should I do? Guess I'll get a snack!

fucsia profile image

fucsia 6 years ago

A very funny great hub ! congratulations for your sympathy!

SteveoMc profile image

SteveoMc 6 years ago from Pacific NorthWest Author

fucsia thanks for the comment and reading. Glad you enjoyed it.

ross670daw profile image

ross670daw 6 years ago

I needed a good laugh, really like your hub. Fortunately for me, my mother taught me how to cook, she was very good at it, very creative which is just as well, my current Mrs. has no idea.

I have to share this with you, I'm sorry, but I am seeing your Mistress as well, only occasionally mind you. Don't get jealous.

SteveoMc profile image

SteveoMc 6 years ago from Pacific NorthWest Author

ross670daw LOL thanks for the chuckle. Thanks for reading.

Csjun89 profile image

Csjun89 6 years ago

Hahaha, this was a really funny read

I can't cook for nuts myself

SteveoMc profile image

SteveoMc 6 years ago from Pacific NorthWest Author

Csjun89 Thanks for the comment, glad you enjoyed it. It was a fun one to write.

wilderness profile image

wilderness 6 years ago from Boise, Idaho

Funny, funny! This hub reminds me of my own first months of marriage, we my beloved learned to cook. I can't cook worth a darn, so she had to learn, with disasters similar to yours. Also like you, I learned to keep my mouth shut and shovel the glop in!

Thanks for the laugh.

SteveoMc profile image

SteveoMc 6 years ago from Pacific NorthWest Author

Hey wilderness, glad you found this hub, it was a fun one to write and I enjoyed it a lot, but my wife told me, "Don't you ever write anything about me again!" I won't let her read the next one.

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