Sunday, December 23, 2012

Leaving the Kitchen

To save money on gas, I’ve started riding the bus to work. Because it takes twice as long to get to and from work, now, my wife and kids have started to take over cooking supper.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

I know, I know. In almost every other Mormon household it’s expected that the ladies do the cookin’ while the men-folk work in the fields. That stereotype is a bunch of crock, by the way, historically as well as modernly, but we’ll go into that later. Maybe.

The point is they’re not used to it. From the day my wife and I got married I’ve done the bulk of the cooking and grocery shopping. She hates cooking and is frankly better at fixing most broken stuff around the house than I am, and it’s worked out pretty well for us so far.

Now I’m worried. Remember, my wife hates cooking. My kids know a little about it. My 11 year old has taken to it pretty well, but her repertoire is limited. When people don’t like to cook, they tend to rely on premade stuff. More expensive. Less tasty.

So far, it’s been okay. The only thing I’ve had to do is ask for more vegetables. “Yes, dear, I enjoyed the things you called “chicken enchiladas,” but it would have been nice to have something green to go with it.” My wife caved into my wishes by steaming some broccoli the next evening. I only hope that they will continue this trend of making things better and better as time goes on.

My other concern is grocery shopping. Out of necessity, I’ve gotten pretty adept at finding ways to lower our food budget. Some things are still worth paying more for, but other items are not. I’ve been teaching my daughters how to calculate a deal. They know how to compare cost per ounce, not just what seems to be the cost based on the sticker. “On Sale” doesn’t always mean a better deal. In fact, my local grocery store is notorious for putting things “on sale” for the regular price, right before they raise it. Because my daughters know how to check this, I’m not too worried about them. The trouble is that my wife is going to be doing most of the shopping. She hates grocery shopping as much as she hates cooking, maybe more. Consequently, she’ll go for convenience and expediency as much as checking the value and price. Case in point, the last time we went shopping she stocked the cart high and paid out about half again as much as I would have. I’m not saying we couldn’t use the things she bought. She just makes me nervous.

The real reason for all this concern is that, whether I like to admit it or not, I’m a control freak when it comes to the kitchen and pantry. At least I have been. The kitchen has been my domain for so many years; it’s hard to give up its daily control. Letting things go is good, though. Or so they tell me. It’s not like I won’t still be cooking on the weekends. I just have to get used to the idea that my kitchen is being occupied by a well meaning alien invasion force.