I like to cook. I'm pretty good at it too. My favorite recipes are the kinds that call for 27 hard to pronounce (and locate) ingredients and require an hour and a half of prep work and some architectural ability to construct. Fancy food, you might say. I even seriously looked into going to culinary school for a few years. Cooking has been a longtime passion of mine but I don't do it like I used to.
I have adjusted my technique and arsenal of recipes since marrying JD. You see, he is a meat, potatoes and ketchup kind of guy. "Ketchup?" you say. Oh yes, JD considers ketchup to be a universal condiment. It tastes delicious on everything, he claims. Mashed potatoes, pot roast, mac and cheese. If it doesn't seem like it would taste good with ketchup, JD adds a little and decides that it was just what the dish called for. This. Infuriates. Me. Especially when I make homemade mac and cheese with a roux and 4 different aged cheeses. Sigh. We were made for each other in many aspects, but our palettes? Well they are on totally different sides of the spectrum. I've learned not to take it too personally. That has not always been the case though.
When we first started dating, I attempted to wow him with my many culinary abilities. I made some mistakes though. Instead of making things that I knew I could make taste great (and that he actually liked), I would make dishes too complicated or foreign to even me. Let's just say there were some under cooked meat and strange textured dessert experiences. More than once. And I think he's never gotten over it. Even today, he checks the color of his pork before he takes a bite. There may or may not have been some delicious marinara chili......I accidentally bought Italian style tomato paste for the chili What do you know, it actually makes a BIG difference in the flavor. Marinara chili: unexpected? Yes! Hearty? Uh huh. Delicious? Not so much.
It doesn't help that JD compares everything I make to his mother's cooking. Don't get me wrong, she's a great cook. But so am I and I feel like because I have made so many mistakes trying to impress JD, now he thinks I am a terrible cook. Not terrible, just unpredictable. I have been know to threaten a few why-don't-you-go-eat-at-your-mother's-if-you-like-her-cooking-so-much-better-than-mine over the years....
I have greatly improved at making things that JD likes. Or maybe his palette has changed and come over to the delicious side. He says that my cooking is better than his mom's sometimes. That is probably the nicest thing he has ever said to me. Sad, right? There is a lot of pressure to be a good cook and feed your family yummy meals. I find that the hardest thing is to make a selection of meals instead of the same 7 that I know he loves. My biggest problem is going to the store without a menu plan. So I have started scribbling a menu on the back of my grocery list. I shop according to the meal plan and feel awfully smart and prepared for the next 2 weeks. Except I always throw my list away at the checkout and when I get home, I forget what meals I was going to make. So I bought this:
It's a weekly menu planner. It has been so helpful. JD likes it too. He will draw smiley faces on the meals that he likes and frowny ones on the ones he's not looking forward to. Now, I never forget why I bought the chicken thighs or spicy sausage. I bought mine at Anthopologie, but you can get yours here.
Last night I made delicious schnitzel. Of course my piece was tender and perfectly cooked. JD's however, was the slightest bit pink. So he nuked it. Then covered it in ketchup. He said it tasted really porky and was tough. Sigh. I thought about telling him to go eat his mom's schnitzel if he didn't like what was on his plate, but I let it go. Mostly because mine was delicious. I know he knows that I can cook. There may always be the occasional pink pork cutlet, but I know that I'm a darn good cook and a little marinara chili isn't going to stop me from getting elbow deep in some fois gras pudding later tonight. I'm totally kidding, that sounds disgusting.