Do I make a mess?
Sometimes I get the feeling I may be a little messy when I cook. When I owned and managed restaurants I had dishwashers who cleaned up behind me. At home I have a wife who cleans up my cooking messes. But I got the feeling she would rather I cook outside.
It started like a lot of married couples when she bought me a charcoal Weber. She would lavish praise on almost anything I cooked – black or not. I had some natural cooking skills but granted they had not been sharpened to the fine point they have today. But listening to her you would of thought I was culinary savant.
I soon grew tired of waiting 45 minutes for charcoal briquets to get hot and more and more I begged off grilling.
She solved the problem by buying me a very nice gas grill. I was thrilled and still clueless. I cooked on it for years, even though compared to today’s grills, it wasn’t much more than a two burner, propane lighter with a lid.
But again, anytime I went outside with food and came back with it cooked, I was complimented like I had invented fire myself.
But like all men I grew tired of that toy too.
She wasn’t fazed.
For my birthday that year I received a big shiny green (my favorite color) new grill with both a sear and side burner.
Is she telling me something?
When I cook in the kitchen I leave a trail of dishes, spices and assorted things behind me like a tornado. When I cook outside, I make the same mess but most of it is outside where it has always been my area to clean.
I think, in the beginning, she didn’t like my cooking as much as she liked me dirtying the outside. Now lucky for her and our family, as the years went by I trained with a chef (my Dad) in our family restaurants and have become rather skilled. And modest.
Now most young husbands would resent her throwing them outside to cook. Not me, I am an experienced husband. I am as skilled in the art of marriage as I am in the art of cooking.
So I worked it to my advantage.
When she wanted me to grill chicken I suggested I could cook it in our Fry Daddy.
“Honey, I can just flour up the pieces here in the kitchen and deep fry it on the counter.”
My birthday present that year was a four gallon, propane deep fryer.
When she wanted pork I volunteered to make pulled pork in the oven.
“Dear, I’ll only be in the kitchen 12 hours or so. It won’t have that smokey flavor but I promise it will taste good.”
For Fathers Day I was surprised with my new vertical propane smoker. Extra wide to hold more!
She is so good to me.
Then the final feat of marital skill.
Every time she mentioned almost any food I tried to convince her it would taste better on our electric griddle.
She stayed tough and insisted on open flame. In my mind I had an image of a complete outdoor kitchen and that image was fading fast, when I pulled a classic husband move. I think it was invented by Al Bundy himself.
I took my credit card and my kids, to Outdoor World and they bought her, for her birthday, a brand new propane flat grill. The griddle can be removed to use as two open burners. It is nice and as you may have guessed she has never used it. But I have. By the way – I bought her jewelry that year.
Again a young husband would of resented being tossed to the wind. I probably would have if I figured it out years ago. Lucky for me I didn’t realize what was happening until I had been around the marriage block a time or two.
So instead of fighting it I rode it to my outdoor kitchen.
Complete with everything I want – but a dishwasher!