Passionate About Wine Country
and the Moms Who Live Here

For the Love of a Real Dinner: When Dad Cooks

5:15 p.m.: The hubby realizes that he is the only adult in the household who will make a real dinner as his wife is only capable of warming up food or making quesadillas.

5:30 p.m.: He scours the Internet for the perfect recipe and heads down the street to Whole Foods (he is convinced that when buying staple ingredients, the prices are comparable to any grocery store). We don’t complain because #wholefoods.

5:50 p.m.: Dinner prep ensues.  Dinner items are removed from grocery bags, and other extras are left in the bags because they are not important right now.  The Chef has engaged laser focus and the kitchen better be prepared. If said kitchen was clean beforehand, kiss it goodbye, because the next hour will undo any semblance of order or peace in the (just repainted white) galley kitchen.

6:15 p.m.: All the tiny bowls we own are out, each one containing something that has been chopped into perfect minuscule pieces because this is how the freaking TV Chefs do it and there is no other way.  Tiny minced garlic, tiny parsley, fancy coarse salt, capers (what even are these?!). Not to be left out, we have pans of messy flour, pots of potatoes overflowing with boiling water, trays of Brussels sprouts that the kids will not eat, an oven sweating with temps of 400 degrees, and the counter space is at maximum capacity.

6:36 p.m.: This is about the time I ruin dinner.  I walk through the kitchen when The Chef is in all his glory and my OCD meter goes sky high.  Tiny bits of parsley are scattered on the ground and garlic peels are stuck on cupboard knobs. Kitchen tools are strewn everywhere and and the caper jar is sitting dangerously close to the edge of the counter top. Worst of all, there is something unrecognizable smeared on the top of the paper towel roll so that EVERY PAPER TOWEL is infected.  I try to remain calm as I panic to find the disinfectant wipes. Moving methodically around the kitchen to fight against my fate. I know that cleaning up is my responsibility, so I attempt to get a head start, which is the exact wrong time to be in the kitchen.

6:48 p.m.: It’s GO TIME.  All the things are coming together at the same time. This is when the you know what literally hits the fan.  Five minutes of crazed sauce making, chicken done-ness checking, Brussels sprout seasoning and serious potato mashing.  Timing is everything and you must taste your food (this is what The Chef always tells me). You do not want to be caught in the kitchen right now, especially if you cannot be useful.  The Chef must be left to finish this alone.  No words may be spoken.  No comments of “What is that?” or “I don’t like Brussels sprouts!” can be uttered, lest the speaker wants to die.

6:55 p.m.: Placemats meet with plates of delicious gloriousness.  We spend the next 10 minutes in silence as we savor each bite of real food.  It’s so much better than yesterday’s dinner attempt of quesadillas and boxed Mexican rice.  So. Much. Better.  As to how it all came together, we’ll never understand, but right now, who cares.  The sauce is perfect, the chicken is just right, the Brussels sprouts are delectable and the potatoes require a second helping.  I glance across the table to The Chef and smile to show my appreciation.  He is hopeful that this good deed will be rewarded, later.

7:10 p.m.: We take turns around the table sharing our “good thing, bad thing, silly thing” from the day. Milk inevitably spills, Brussels sprouts mysteriously find their way to the ground, talk of potatoes ARE french fries is dismissed.  Finally, the wine is refilled, unfinished plates are passed down to The Chef who does not allow real dinner to be wasted, and placemats are returned to their holding spot. One hour and fifty-five minutes later, the dinner dance has come to an end.

10:52 p.m.: After several attempts at procrastination, including folding half a basket of laundry and grading a few papers, I walk back into the kitchen to assess the damage.  Knowing full well I should have cleaned up much sooner, I argue with myself for a few minutes before starting to load the dishwasher. Pandora makes the kitchen cleaning bearable as I look around and wonder how things ever got this out of hand.  The Chef tells me that kitchen restaurants look the same and I wonder if they hate cleaning up as much as I do.  

11:36 p.m.: Goodnight Lysol fresh scent smell. Goodnight happy dishwasher noises. Goodnight streak-free stainless steel refrigerator. Goodnight Tupperware leftovers. Goodnight white cabinets. Goodnight parsley-free floor. Goodnight Chef and children and real dinner, until we meet again.

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