Men in the Kitchen

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 :


About Tonette Joyce

Tonette was a once-fledgling lyricists-bookkeeper, turned cook/baker/restaurateur and is now exploring different writing venues,(with a stage play recently completed). She has had poetry and nonfiction articles published in the last few years. Tonette has been married to her only serious boyfriend for more than thirty years and she is, as one person described her, family-oriented almost to a fault. Never mind how others have described her, she is,(shall we say), a sometime traditionalist of eclectic tastes.She has another blog : "Tonette Joyce:Food,Friends,Family" here at WordPress.She and guests share tips and recipes for easy entertaining and helps people to be ready for almost anything.
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12 Responses to Men in the Kitchen

  1. jeff7salter says:

    love the imagery of dancing in the kitchen.
    The kitchen we had for 26 yrs in N.W. Louisiana was about as small as you’d expect in a 1400 sq ft house with 3 BR & 2 baths. For the house we built (here in S..E. KY) in 2007, Denise significantly enlarged the kitchen area: big island with a small second sink, plenty of cabinets & drawers. And, despite the floorplan being totally open (so that, if blocked, you can get where you want by skirting around the other side of that island) we still end up needing the same areas at the same time. So, yeah, we also do the kitchen dance. Ha.


  2. I’m dying here; even my oven is too small.I dream of putting in another, but….
    Shoot,I have sworn that if I win the lottery I wouldn’t move, but enlarge this place…it’s the principal of the thing!
    Bet you and Denise have more fun ‘dancing’!


  3. Jeffrey Williams says:

    Connie and I need a large kitchen to allow both of us to use it at the same time. Usually, since she is such a great cook, I let her have the space. I originally thought the blog would be about dancing, not the camaraderie of the family cooking together. When I am alone, the radio is on and loud and I am footloose and fancy free. Same with serious cleaning. This is a secret no one knows and I hope my children never hide a camera to entrap me. Love to dance, too baptist to show it!


  4. Dancing is fine,Jeffrey. When I am alone,I often blast the radio or CD’s while I clean.No body better leave a recorder on when I sing with it! I can take the music anywhere. My computer sits in the aisle-way at the dining area just outside the kitchen, on the way to the main body of the house.I usually have Netflix or BookTV going when I cook. I USED to dance around,nope, not any more.
    And you got “comraderie” in the kitchen out of this??? It is more of a chess match…at best!
    Thanks for coming by and even staying to’ talk’!


  5. I can see that dancin manuever. LOL!

    Why did your father in law tell you such a fib? So his son didn’t have to cook?


    • Oh, no, he thought it was the truth.Notice I said that Joe had made “Liver Stew”. Joe admitted that it was terrible and then Ed found it in his fridge two weeks later. (Not a pretty thought!)
      You know me,I’d rather be in the kitchen anyway.When Joe was laid off butI was working, he knew I’d rather come home and cook to relax and feel creative. He could handle the dishes!


  6. Iris B says:

    I had a good laugh at “I was dancing with dad in the kitchen” …. yup, that’s what we did at home. Mum’s kitchen is about 2m x 5m and yes, we had a little table in there when I was a kid and I remember the breakfasts we had there (Mum, me and my two sisters).
    My kitchen is a kitchen/living room arrangement. As I said earlier this week, I’m not much of a kitchen person, so I like it this way. At least I’m not “on my own” when I have to cook!
    As for hubby – yeah he cooks. His domain is the BBQ outside and I’m grateful for that! 🙂


    • `Oh, Iris, we are led to believe that BBQ is a way of life in Australia…and it’s true?!
      I like the idea of kitchen living room/family rooms; that style is very big here. W spend a lot of time in the dining area, which is semi-separate from the actual kitchen; in fact, that is where I am now.The computer is right next to the archway that leads from the kitchen/dining area to the main body of the house.We put it here when our boys were kids so we could watch what they had online and kept it here. It is really convenient for me, and now,I keep my eye on what the grandkids have on it!
      Glad you stopped in!


      • Iris B says:

        Oh yes, BBQ is a MUST in everyone’s backyard 🙂 and I’ve gotta say, while hubby was away last week, how wonderful is it to just throw a piece of meat on it and serve it with a salad …. my kinda dinner!


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