I used to fancy myself a talent in the kitchen. It was a delusional thought because while I can certainly fend for myself by making more than adequate meals, talent is not a word that could ever be used to describe my cooking. I make meals that are a reflection of my midwestern upbringing — hearty. But being married to an actual gourmet cook has emasculated any kitchen hubris that I once flaunted.
I am in my second marriage. I spent many happy Sundays during my first one banging pots and pans in the kitchen and producing what I called, ahem, Sunday Dinner. I would also make the quick, mid-week evening meal on the fly when called up on to do so (i.e. boiling water, spaghetti, and a jar of sauce). My first wife — whom I would describe as a very good cook — thought my efforts to be quite acceptable. After that marriage ended, and during a nearly three year bachelor period, I prided myself in expanding my cooking repertoire. I went from mainly meat and pasta dishes to fish and seafood entrees, along with some “adventurous” salads (i.e. something more than just iceberg lettuce and cucumber). I stir-fried, I baked, I broiled, and I sautéed. My specialities were roast chicken, beef brisket, meatloaf, pasta sauces, poached salmon, and better than average breakfast omelets. I was no Graham Kerr (am I aging myself with that reference?), but I always prided myself in knowing a spatula from a colander.
Enter Gorgeous. I cannot even begin to explain how amazing of a cook and baker she is. She is really more than simply a cook. In fact, describing her as only that is probably an insult. For her, creating food is an art form, a passion, a Zen. All of the spiritual gifts that make her into a talented and gifted psychic, transform her into a creative artist in the kitchen. Our bookshelves are jammed with cookbooks of every conceivable cuisine in the world. She makes nearly everything — including breads and pastas — completely from scratch. Almost every day is a struggle for me to not over-eat. Gorgeous’ psychic clients sing praises about her clairvoyant and empathic abilities, and in this particular area she is neither boastful nor presumptuous. But in the kitchen she is relaxed, extremely confident, and happier than anyone I’ve ever seen.
Since our marriage two years ago I have not done much cooking. There has been no need. Complicating matters is that when we lived in Oregon, our home was a huge, airy Portland loft. Rattling pans and pots there would have only further rattled my beautiful lady’s concentration as she worked with clients.
Now, however, it’s a different dynamic. With actual walls and doors in our condo, there is privacy and relative silence in each room to do as we please. This means that in theory I can and really should lend a hand in the kitchen. I say this because of one important post-retirement reality: My wife, for the moment anyway, is the sole wage earner in this union.¹ So on those busy afternoons for her that extend into early evening, someone should be going into the kitchen to rustle up some grub. But I am so out of practice [insert the word “spoiled” here if you wish], not to mention that my so-called meals are considered fast food compared to what she makes, I am intimidated to even try. I have verbalized this a couple of times already. The response I’ve gotten has been, “Well, that would be nice if you did.”
Let’s see if I can rise to the occasion. To be continued…
¹ Because I took early retirement, for the next year I will only receive my annuity and not a special supplement that I am entitled to receive at full retirement age. This supplement will kick in next year on my birthday. A good chunk of my present annuity goes towards alimony to my ex-wife. I will discuss this more in future posts.