Here we are discussing food and kitchens and the foodie of the group isn’t going to talk much about food, but more about kitchens.
The post by Jeff-the-Hound got me thinking about men in the kitchen. Not chefs, (although there are many on TV nowadays whose food I would never touch), I mean regular fellas.
The day before my wedding my father-in-law was leaving to go out-of –town to get his mother and a couple of relatives to bring to the ceremony. His parting words of advice were, “Don’t let Joe in the kitchen”. I laughed. He stopped on the stairs and said, “No; I’m serious. He made liver stew and left it in my refrigerator.” He mimed facing away from hands holding a non-existent pot, scooping something out and pushing it away, while glancing back, his face in again. He explained: “I had to force it down the garbage disposal; I was gagging the whole time.”
So, foolishly, I did not let my husband cook. But some years later I came home to the kids eating some of the best French toast I have ever tasted, made by their father. He later developed a bean dip that everyone loves. My mother, (who, nearly 11 years after her death is still having her meals spoke of with awe), used it as basis for other dishes. He has to make it by the large pot-loads because it is in such demand. And he can handle other foods…when given the chance.
As fantastic a cook as my mother was, her style was low and slow. There wasn’t much of anything that she did not take incredible amounts of time on, but believe me, it showed in the taste. On the other hand, my father would always fry things, hot and fast. As you can imagine, he didn’t get a lot of kitchen-time, not for cooking, anyway; most of his time there was spent dancing.
I nearly didn’t buy the house I have now because the kitchen is way too small for me, but I was desperate and at the time, not much was available. It is a nice house with many good qualities, but just today I said to my husband, “This town ain’t big enough for both of us” and I left the kitchen until he finished getting his morning coffee and roll. Really, it is small, but no matter how big the kitchen may have been in any other house, it was always too small when my father entered. He was tall, but not a large man, yet he always seemed to need to be exactly where anyone else was at the time. We would go in one direction and he would head that way. We’d face him and try to anticipate his next move, only to guess wrongly and we’d smack into him. My brother once said it was like facing a cobra, weaving back and forth, waiting for a strike. It could keep on for some time, with one of us and my father facing each other afraid to move. Move to the left, he’d shift to his right; shift to your right, he’d move to his left; shuffle one way, he’d lurch to that same spot. A stunt coordinator could not choreograph the moves more perfectly. You could see the frustration in his face the whole time, still, he managed to move exactly where the person was going to try to get out of his way.
Once my brother left the table where he was speaking with my mother and me. He was just back from Viet Nam, a Marine who had seen a lot, been through a lot. He wasn’t coming back and we got concerned; I mean, he’d been on recon duty in the jungle, we figured he could find his way back to the dining room. Just as I was about to go looking for him, he came back. “Where were you?” asked my mother.
He replied, “In the kitchen, dancing with Dad”. And we knew exactly what he meant.
How about you? Will you make me weep with envy that your kitchen is nice and big? Or
is your ‘town’ not big enough for two?
[ By the way, if you’d like to see me talk a lot about food and entertaining, pick up some tips or ask a question, please visit me at my other blog :