Look Familiar?

March 29, 2011 in Cooking, Favorites, Life

Loneliness Is - Day 129

Loneliness Is... by Christen Shaw

Come on.. tell me this doesn’t look familiar to you?

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday  nite (maybe more?) … eating alone?

Yes it does. That’s what WE significant others do.

This is EXACTLY what 99% of most of the people out there (you know…those who, right now – are sitting down, watching cooking shows or reading a foodie magazine- are thinking about what it must be like, being married to a chef) – have NO idea about. For all they know, it’s all glitz and glamour, 24/7.  Usually meeting someone and explaining the dynamics of what we do.. sound like this:

Me: “My husband is a chef”

Unaware masses: “OOH, he must cook for you every night!”  or “You must eat really well in your house!”

Me: “uh, yea NO.”

This logic doesn’t make any sense to me really. WHY would they be home cooking for me when their PURPOSE is to be at the restaurant cooking for YOU???

And when they ARE home… they’re most likely too tired to cook so at least one night a week it’s Chinese delivery nite. (Okay, there are a few restaurant men and women who come home with the same energy as when their at work.. but they’re rarely seen, kinda like Mr. Snuffleupagus from Sesame Street.)

So most nights…we cook for ourselves (or our children).  Alone.

I can only speak for myself when I say, for the record – I’m NOW totally okay with that. Yes, there was a time in an earlier chapter of my life, back when he was just a boyfriend (or not a boyfriend at all!) that I daydreamed of coming home to someone and cooking together. Wandering the aisles of the grocery store together, seeking out unusual recipes to try out. Creating a nightly menu of what we’re going to eat every day of the week. I briefly had that with a previous relationship (fellow 9-5’r) and will admit; yes, it had it’s moments of being fun. But like most things, we romanticize these moments as greater then they really are and end up not having the long term appeal that we originally thought.

Whether we’re with a chef or not, at the end of the day it’s challenging to always be up on your game with regard to preparing home cooked meals.  (No wonder Rachael Rays 30 minute meals are so popular! 30 minutes from prep to eat? SCORE!) I mean we’re tired. After a day of enduring the 9-5, picking up the kids, hitting the gym, running some errands, or surviving the long commute home. It’s no wonder why the allure of being with a chef is so great… MOST people take themselves out to a meal (i.e. have someone cook for them) because they don’t want to do the cooking at home! Why is it any different for any of us?

As for me, I’m not a foodie. I don’t have a pantry full of exotic and far reaching ingredients. I grew up with a  meat, starch, vegetable mentality. (Unfortunately I also grew up with an ‘Eat everything on that plate or your not leaving the table!” mentality, but that’s a post for another day) I didn’t grow up with fresh herbs sitting on my window sill. My mother didn’t cook fish all that often (like at ALL), so I didn’t grow up eating it or more than that, cooking it. My idea of a home cooked meal is a box of Rice-a-Roni and some baked chicken dish with canned vegetables. Yes, I said canned vegetables.

So that is what I do. When I know I’m cooking alone, I look up a recipe by it’s keywords “quick and easy” or “one pot meals”.

I even have a confession: I even  have, on occasion, come home to a box of  Hamburger Helper when I want something hot and fast. It’s a joke in my house when I do so but ps: who eats those leftovers huh? yep, the husband when he comes home at night. Whose joking now?

It’s not like I’m completely clueless – I like to step it up a bit when I am cooking for my husband or guests. You’re just not going to find me whipping up a 4 course meal with the “Secret Ingredient”  as they do on Iron Chef!

All of this earlier upbringing means that I am quite intimidated when it comes to cooking for my husband. I inevitably say before placing any plate in front of him, “It’s nothing fancy…”. It’s apparent that my shortcomings in the kitchen are apparent when he’s around. Here’s the thing…

It’s just not my bag.

It works for me that I don’t have to give too much thought to having to cook knowing that I’m doing so alone. I don’t have the all encompassing eye, leering over the stovetop, watching how much salt I put in my water when I cook pasta (answer: none. I only salt water when the husband is home).

And so it is…this is part of being with someone in the industry.  I KNOW most nights, I will most likely eat alone. I have come to enjoy the choice I have of what to cook, where I eat what I cook (usually on the sofa in my pj’s, catching up on my shows I record) or that I’m able to make plans with my girlfriends without the guilt of making sure I’m home before the husband gets upset. I will admit, it took some adjusting of what I thought my life would look like, but once I did, I realize its part of the freedom that I VALUE about being a strong and  independent woman,  successfully navigating through the life of being Married to a Chef.

Look Familiar?

11 Comments

    1. Elizabeth says:

      This made me laugh…I totally can relate to where you are coming from with this especially when cooking for the chef…this past week he finally let me cook him dinner so I made him some eggplant parm (fancy fancy in my book of cooking) I was like damn I gotta really make something not my usual chicken with pasta and veggies haha…I first sent him out to do an erran so I could do some chopping and what not because I knew he would critique the way I use a knife haha then he gets back and tell him you are nto aloud in the kitchen you need to stay in the living room…did he listen? Nope! haha it drove me bonkers…the whole salt in water thing…he goes to me um..you didn’t put salt in the water for the pasta hahaha

    2. Gabrielle says:

      I am one of the lucky ones w/ a husband who enjoys cooking for me when he is home. He is amazing!

      I do cook for him once in a while, but usually when he is watching football – it is the only time he leaves me alone! But I always end up asking what I think is a simple question and then he then he annoys me by taking over!

      • Hey Gabrielle!! Thanks for your response! yes, You definitely ARE one of the lucky ones!!!

        I cannot tell you how much better it makes me feel (along with so many others reading this) who also get aggravated when their other half comes in and just takes over! Ack!

    3. Kris Oetting says:

      You know I could have swore I had left over sloppy joe’s and tator tots in here for my lunch today. Ahhh…yes, chef came home from his fancy restaurant and ate my lunch. Really?!? he couldn’t have brought home Peking-ala-frou-frou for his dinner. UGH !

      • Hey Kris.. Thanks for your response! I’m laughing hysterically because that has ABSOLUTELY happened to me as well!!! You want to put a big sticker on the leftovers saying “Hands off!”

        They come home and their like.. “I’m hungry”. YOUR HUNGRY? YOU WORK AT A RESTAURANT!!! (I know.. they’re too busy to eat. It just is one of those things that always leaves me mystified!)

    4. Mandy says:

      Yes I agree it is a totally different way of life – always eating dinner on your own and yes you do get used to the freedom. I go out a lot with friends on the weekends and do eat out a lot as my other halk says eating out is a “busmans holiday”. I do cook for him when I am home during the week and he does like my cooking. He eats it at about 11pm at night when he comes home and he does cook mostly on on his 2 nights off.

      • Hey Mandy… oh yes, the life of a Significant Other! Gotta love it, eh? It is definitely something that takes getting used to. It dook me YEARS to be okay with the schedule, the passing through the night, etc… (truth: sometimes I still have a hard time with it.) Sounds like you have some great people around you who support you when he’s working. That is definitely an instrumental part of finding success in this type of relationship.

    5. Katie says:

      this is great! I don’t really cook at all so I either a) eat a frozen meal b) eat a bowl of cereal or c) head to his restaurant for dinner. of course when he is home and we aren’t heading out to a different restaurant for dinner he will cook me kraft mac and cheese or order a pizza or chinese. he also loves taco bell.

      • Hey Katie! I’m so glad it resonates! That’s the thing, SO many of us are not foodies! We’re not whipping up some fancy meal when we get home. Oh yes, I am hearing most chefs (including my husband) are in love with their Chinese takeout!

    6. emily says:

      I totally love this! When my husband is home he cooks amazing meals but mostly I am cooking for me and the kids I hate to cook so usually I am making a casserole while he is making $75 plates of food for strangers lol

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