How my Wife Taught Me to Cook
Can You Keep a Secret?
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.
Easy Recipe Ideas
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
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.
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.
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.
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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