Saturday, May 15, 2010

Messing about in the kitchen

My husband’s mother was among the cadre of women who were swept into employment in the years during World War II – she worked swing shift in an aircraft plant. Women were becoming more liberated in the sense of jobs outside of the home, but meanwhile, back at the ranch, there was still “women’s work” and there was “men’s work” and even though the women went out to work, they were still expected to come home and do the “domestic work” as well. Richard’s sister helped her mother with the housework, but Richard and his father did not help her around the house.

When my father came home from the war and my mother became pregnant, she quit the job she had and stayed home and took care of children and the house, and my father went out to work. The difference between our families was that he did help my mother in the house. He did help prepare food and clean the house.

So it made for some interesting times when we got married. Richard expected that I would be like his mother. I expected him to be like my father. Ha. It made for some interesting arguments and misunderstandings.

But gradually in the 39 years we have been together, there has been some shifting and blurring of our domestic roles, which came to a quick head (as I have mentioned more than once to everybody’s boredom) when I was laid up for 2 months several years ago.

He moved with remarkable grace out of his comfort zone and became the “domestic god” and has done a wonderful job. What has been most fascinating to me in recent months has been his increased interest in actually messing about with our food and figuring out ways to make what we eat every day taste better. As anyone who has bothered to count calories can attest, the things one adds to the food to make it taste better can often double or triple the calorie count.

He found a really tasty, and rather expensive, cream cheese spread and thought perhaps he could make his own version using reduced-calorie cream cheese. So he bought some garlic powder and onion powder and dried parsley. And his version is just as good for a lot less money. He wants to know should we try beer mustard on the salmon? Yes, we should. And it tastes wonderful.

Then he looked at the zucchini we eat a lot of and began trying new ways of fixing it and we had ourselves a little taste test.

The two at the top of the pan were sprinkled with onion powder, garlic powder, and cheddar cheese powder (which we buy in bulk from a alternative market). The two in the middle were sprinkled with onion powder, garlic powder, but no cheese powder. The two at the bottom were sprinkled with basil, oregano, and a bit of Parmesan cheese, which is how we usually fixed it.

And yes, the topping at the ends got a bit dark, but was not burnt.

We decided we liked the version with a bit of garlic powder, onion powder, and cheddar cheese powder the best. Perhaps I will get him a chef’s hat for our anniversary.

No comments: