Let’s get one thing straight. I am a lover of food.
I’m not sure that I’ll ever be able to take part in any of these maple syrup/lemon juice cleanses OR count my calories, using a pinch of Parmesan on my salad instead of an entire, huge ball of creamy, delicious Burrata.
After having three kids in the last five years, aside from the actual ‘conception’ aspect, FOOD is the closest thing I’ve had to sex on a regular basis.
I grew up working in the kitchen of a country restaurant (and a farm, but always washed my hands in between shifts), started in the back of the house on dishes and quickly moved up front as a host and then a server. I spent my Sundays in the kitchen listening to ball games on AM radio, making pasta from scratch, breaking down chicken and duck, shucking oysters with precision.
I took my early culinary knowledge and experience and applied it at home, planting my own garden and wooing potential prom dates at the dinner table (my dad built by hand) with ‘farm-to-table’ meals before that trendy term was even on the radar.
Years later, when my wife and I first started dating, I invited her over to my single apartment in Venice Beach. I laid out super-aged cheeses, poured vintage wine, hand-rolled sushi, spent hours on a Coq Au Vin and made an eggplant parm that saw her leaving the next morning in one of my t-shirts.
Food…was how I flirted.
However…that was years ago.
Now I’m a stay-at-home dad of 4+ years, having recently moved from LA to DC, with a circus of kids in tow. Most days, I have that look like I’ve been tossed off the back of a pick-up truck in my underwear after someone ripped off the blindfold…
The dishes I once made for their mom have little to NO appeal on these young palettes.
I try my best to keep it interesting for the knee-highs, but lately I find myself filleting turkey dogs like they’re some sort of delicate catch that I garnered from the moored boats of the Chesapeake or if I’m lucky, I get stuck picking ‘dirt’ (herbs) out of their spaghetti sauce.
Jen and I are almost ‘there’, but not completely.
‘There’ being the phase that would describe us all sitting down, enjoying dinner as a family and talking about our day.
We’ve been privy to our brother and sister-in-laws game of ‘peak and pit’, where they each go around the table during dinnertime and reveal their ‘peak’ and ‘pit’ of their day and talk about how it’s important.
I love hearing this. It puts things in perspective, but their kids are a bit older.
These days I normally cook one dinner for the kids and then something completely different for Jen and me.
We would LOVE to get the kids involved in a communal supper, but with the hours that we both work…sometimes dinner is the only time we get alone to talk about our day and ‘have a relationship’.
By 9:30pm, she’s asleep and I’m quietly mime-cursing at my iPad, checking in on the starting line-up I picked for the week in fantasy baseball.
Lately, I’ve become a bit lazy.
Actually, I’ll correct myself. It’s a disservice in assigning that label… I’m just TIRED.
We aren’t twenty anymore.
Last week, I gathered up a bunch of dogs, leftover rice and frozen vegetables for our dinner together. Last night, I peeled through our freezer-burned entree section, checking dates, hoping to find something current…my culinary Hail Mary.
And after watching this woman walk through the door, working all day, away from her family…
I felt horrible. I felt like she deserved more.
I created a plethora of fake noises. A blender, a rolling pin knocking against the counter…
I told her that she couldn’t come into the kitchen… I was fixing her something nice.
She thought that I had made a delicious, homemade, thin-crust pizza pie.
AND I DIDN’T ARGUE.
Even if she figured me out this morning… she knew that I cared.
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EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Dr. Oetker USA LLC. I received compensation for this post; however, all opinions stated are my own.