Monday, August 01, 2005

My husband the chef

When people first hear that my husband is a chef, they inevitably ask, "Does he do all the cooking at home?" I'm pretty sure that they automatically think that we eat seven course meals on fine china every night. Can I let you in on a little secret? Being married to a chef is really not glamorous at all. It is very, very rare for Chris to cook at home. Maybe once every six months or so, I'll get a fancy-ish meal out of him. About once a month he cooks a less-than fancy meal, or grills something for us. About once a week I can get him to throw a frozen pizza in the oven while I head home from work. That's pretty much the extent of his cooking at home.

When he and I first started dating, I was amused by how small his kitchen was in his apartment. It was so small that it only had room for one of those college dorm sized refrigeraters. I was also amused by his utter lack of kitchen ware. He had 4 plates, one large mixing bowl, a set of silverware and various glasses. Oh, and probably a bottle opener too. Couldn't forget that. Oh, and of course he had a knife bag full of expensive and scarily sharp knives. The only food he ate outside of work was cereal or takeout.

When we were engaged and registering for wedding gifts, he had a field day. Oh, we need this $300 blender. We should get this $600 All Clad cookware. We can't get by without this Kitchen Aid mixer. He almost had me tricked into thinking he might take an interest in cooking at home. I thought, "Oh, he just hasn't been cooking in his apartment because he doesn't have the necessary appliances!" Interestingly enough, when people find out that you're marrying a chef, they seem to head straight for the "kitchen" part of the registry list. We got lots of stuff to stock our kitchen so that Chris could cook at home (because god knows I don't know how to use half of this crap). Well, now that we have a kitchen aid mixer, a hand-held mixer, an immersion blender, a regular blender AND a food processer, we have a lot of extra things to catch all that pesky dust that floats about the house. So, that's kind of nice.

Over time, I have decided that not only do I not mind that Chris doesn't cook at home, but in fact I would rather that he didn't. What happens when a chef cooks at home is that every piece of cookware and every utensil gets used. He can't make a sauce without using two pans and a pot, a spatula and 4 spoons. And guess who gets to clean up when he cooks?

Another downside to having a chef in the house is that when I cook, I feel like I'm under constant scrutiny. He treats me like I'm someone who works in his kitchen. He wants to watch what I'm doing and see what I do wrong before he tells me what I should have done. Since I'm definitely no master chef, I ask him for help and he always tells me, "Do whatever you think is right." Now, let me tell you, that drives me nuts. If I knew how to do it right, why on earth would I be asking for help? Not too long ago I was stirfrying some vegetables. He was watching me like a hawk, so I start asking him questions. I was going for a particular flavor, and I asked how much of each ingredient I should use. "As much as you think you need." So, when all is said and done he says, "Now here are some tips for next time. Use less oil, and put the mushrooms and peppers in first and the squash and peas later because they cook faster." OK, this isn't culinary school, this is dinner. When I ask you a question, answer it BEFORE I end up with soggy squash. Thanks, I appreciate that.

From all this discussion of food, you would think it was common for there to be a homecooked meal on the table in our house. Unfortunately, that is so far from the truth it's not even funny. Since I work through dinner time, Chris and I ususally fend for ourselves. I think both of our diets suffer because of that, but it actually helps our sanity. As for all the small appliances, sometimes I'll get out the immersion blender and stick it some chocolate pudding, just so it doesn't feel useless.


Lauren said...

Yes, yes, yes! You are the lady with the chef husband. I always forget who it is on BBC who's married to a chef and it's you!

Forgive me, I'm just excited. I totally relate to this entry because my dh is a chef as well. I know we talked about it a long time ago. Just wanted you to know that you are not alone in this!!

elisa said...

Well, that sounds annoying. The way he said, "next time, blah blah blah" after the fact.

However, it could also be interesting to learn how to cook properly. At least, it would be to me.

Shekky said...

My FIL is a janitor. First thing I thought was that his house must be spotless. WRONG. Who wants to clean someone else's messes all day and come home and clean your own? Or maybe it's because he's single...

Natalie said...

I am cracking up!! My husband is SOOO not a chef, but he is a pretty good cook. And I am not. And I get the same pile of crapola out of him.

"Honey, this is pretty good. I think next time you should try putting some extra chives in at the end, it would really add more flavor."

How bout next time, you eat a turkey sandwich? Or you cook the crap?