Tuesday, May 27, 2008

This Odd Universe

In another vein of the irony post, I realized today that I don't like to cook. Not that I won't, not that I don't. We've all got to eat, and when you have kids, you have to cook since (I've read) the law frowns on giving birth to children and then not giving them nourishment enough to sustain them. So I cook, but I pretty much hate to do it.

For this reason, every afternoon, pre school bus and post lunch/work time, I get a sinking feeling in my stomach. What to make for dinner for four people? Do I have to defrost something? What do we have that's defrostable in the microwave, and will everyone eat it? What dish can I make that is quick and of minimal effort? I could probably learn a lot from Rachael Ray, but she's just so damned annoying that I can't stand to watch her. So I'm on my own. Every day.

I used to be able to make pasta once a week. That was my favorite thing to make. What could be easier than boiling water? Plus, everyone ate it, so I only had to make one meal. None of this, "I don't like meatloaf," or "why does he get the last hot dog?" and doing something different for everyone, based on tastes, how much of each leftover dish there is and what time I finally turned off my computer. But then came gymnastics classes. Conveniently, both boys go on the same night, one class after the other. I was lucky enough that they're also on the same day that my husband works from home, so we can switch off--one kid stays and does homework, I take the other up to class. Then my husband brings the second child up for class, takes the first one home and makes dinner. The one major kink in this plan is that the only thing it makes sense to make on these nights is pasta. It's quick, everyone eats it and it can sit until we walk in the door an hour after they eat. So there went my favorite dinner plan, right into the hands of my husband.

One might say, "well, he's a guy, so he probably needs such a dish if he's in charge of dinner." One would be wrong. Way wrong. My husband not only cooks circles around me, owns "The Joy of Cooking" and at least a dozen other cookbooks (I own two), and handles every big holiday dinner when we have 30 of my family members over, but he loves to cook. He wooed me with food when we were dating. Homecooked. He bought me one of my two cookbooks as a gift. He owns a smoker, a dehydrator (he just made beef jerky last week), a Le Creuset dutch oven and does all the grocery shopping. And every night, he flips around between Clint Eastwood movies, Top Chef, Lydia's Kitchen and Chef Anthony Bourdain's show on the Travel channel. If that's not irony, I don't know what is.

Ideally, my goal is to become so good at my writing, and land so many great paying jobs that my husband can quit his day job (which, of course, he is great at, but less than passionate--more irony) and stay home to be domestic dad. This is his dream too, which is nice, something that we actually have in common. Truthfully, we are a perfect match for each other. He is a domestic, I am a workaholic. The problem is he has to spend all his time at work, and I have to keep interrupting my work to do things like cook, clean and take care of the kids. The irony just never ends.

Yet what would life be without these little challenges? Puzzles like this cause us to work together, make plans, tag team and make it all happen. If our dream did come true, really, what would life be? Probably a lot happier for all of us, actually, but I won't dwell on that now, because the microwave just beeped. Ladies and gentlemen, dinner is served.

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