I am a wife and a mother, and I get to stay at home with my daughters. This is the life I have always wanted — my dream job, if you will.
I’m pretty comfortable with the raising children part. I actually like doing laundry and figuring out which cleaning products work best for certain tasks.
But then there’s the part of the day when The Husband arrives home from work, and he and the children look at me expectantly. What is it that they’re looking for?
Oh yeah. Dinner.
It’s not that I can’t cook. I have, and nobody’s been sent to the hospital. I just never took an interest in it as I was growing up. I was never compelled to linger in the kitchen and earnestly watch my mom prepare our meals. When I lived with my grandmother, my aunt would come up on one weekend and prepare and freeze enough food to last until she came again. Then I went to college, and there was a meal plan. I’m really not sure what I did when I was with The Wolf. I must’ve blocked a lot of that time… When I was single, dating allowed me to eat something other than peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and chicken pot pie.
I like to tell people something I heard once — “I told my husband it’s his choice. He can get his cooking in the kitchen or the bedroom… We eat Wendy’s a lot.” (And the speaker even used Wendy’s as her example. Apparently Wendy’s is the dinner substitution of choice for active couples everywhere.)
That’s all well and good, but c’mon. The poor guy works his tail off and then has to come home and cook for us? No, that’s not going to cut it. At least not for me. This is the life I wanted, and goshdarnit I’m going to make it work.
I must cook.
So last week I had the opportunity to go to one of those places that does the prepared meals. You know, you walk into a gleaming kitchen area, the food is separated and labeled especially for people like me — the scullery-challenged.
It was in this pristine kitchen that I realized my greatest fear.
Sure, I’ve handled it before, and I’ve had an inkling that it wasn’t my favorite thing. Hyperventilating as I cut a piece of chicken clued me in. But there, having to squish ground beef between my gloved fingers, having to take a piece of pork tenderloin and make it fit into a Ziploc bag…
Sorry. The memories just sent me into some sort of episode.
Fear or no fear, at the end of the evening there were eight meals going home with me. Wrapped in foil and cellophane and labeled with cooking instructions, they were mine. All mine. If I can just use this as my jumping off point, let this be the beginning of a beautiful friendship between me and my kitchen… There would just be no stopping me! Never you mind that the one evening out did not include children clamoring for my attention while I prepared the food, and that it did include several fun friends and a glass or two of wine… If I can do eight meals in one evening, certainly I can handle three or four in a week. Certainly.