I have a selfish housewife confession.
Are you ready?
I like cooking for Tom.
See, I often feel bombarded from all sides concerning what I should enjoy or should do instead of being a housewife. I feel like feminists are telling me I should focus on myself and traditionalists (misogynists? I can’t think of a better word right now.) are telling me I ought to do my “duties” out of allegiance to my husband and in pursuit of his happiness.
And don’t get me wrong: I put off household tasks all the time. I often think to myself how silly it is and people say things to me, often employing the phrase, “It’s not like you have anything else to do.” As easy as it is to want to go out often where we live, cooking for Tom is awesome.
Now, I’ve always liked cooking. But cooking for Tom is a totally different ballgame.
Most people I know have certain ways they want things done and critique the food I make based on their experiences having made the dish. They also tend to judge the food based on their impression of me. Now, mind you, a lot of the people I know have either known me since birth or at least since I went through my awkward years and acted particularly
spazzy (I’m grimacing, but this is the word we most used to describe my behavior.) erratic and hyper.
But I’m a pretty good cook and I’ve tried making just about everything because I like just about everything. My family always perceived me as a picky eater, so I get asked things like, “When did you start eating _____?” every time I eat with them, which is a tad annoying. Parents, take note – not forcing foods on people will always make them more likely to try it.
My relationship with cooking had a rocky start and adolescence, however. My grandmother didn’t like having anyone in the kitchen while she cooked, but I guess she didn’t mind having company when she baked because I sat on the counter for many a cookie and banana bread session. My grandpa liked my help, though, so I stir-fried my heart out with an electric wok. As I grew older and lived with my great aunts, I began to begrudge my cooking urges because of the refrain, “Is something burning?” Nothing was ever burning; that’s what cooking smells like.
Anyway, cooking for my husband is awesome.
See, back in the day, when Tom was a bachelor, his mom would often send him leftovers. He’d gobble them up in front of me and say things like, “This is the best ______ ever!” I usually just raised my eyebrow and nodded.
Then, when I started cooking for Tom, I noticed something: he pretty much ate the same stuff over and over, but was willing to try new things.
So of course I did “new” things.
I made gozleme and Thai noodle salad and mint brownies and simit and I grew yogurt and… I started him off slow. I realized from the start that I couldn’t compete with the delicious things his mom has always made for him (which is fairly easy because my wonderful mother-in-law and I have completely different cooking styles), so I haven’t tried – with the exception of split pea “zoop.” It’s disgusting how much Tom likes split pea soup.
But that’s for another time.
I love cooking for Tom because he does cute things with food. He rushes into the kitchen when dinner’s ready and grabs plates and silverware. He helps dish things up if I let him. He gets his food, hums as he walks to his seat, sits, and has eaten half of it by the time I sit down. He says, “It’s very tasty!” He does a small dance when he likes something. He smiles at me when I’m not looking. When he’s finished and I ask him again how he liked it, he claims, “I didn’t get any!” and heads up for seconds.
See, Tom isn’t like most people I know.
He doesn’t question my methods; he trusts them. He doesn’t assess the food with a skeptical eye; he smiles at my creations first. He has never stopped eating something because it tastes funny; he keeps eating stuff that even I deem inedible. He doesn’t think the things I make are strange; he sees how happy cooking makes me.
Lately, he’s gotten really good at talking about the food in front of him. This took lots of time, as he generally believes one ought to eat while eating, not talk about anything, let alone the food. But now he comments on the texture, the seasoning, and often asks what’s in different things.
I love cooking for my husband and the reason why is a little selfish.
It reminds me I’m in a safe place, a judgement-free zone, and in a loving relationship. It reaffirms that I’m capable and good at something. It helps me relax, even if certain dishes are just mean and I have to make up how to fix them. Even when I’ve been put through the ringer, I can throw some ingredients together and make a killer meal.
He tells me I make the best things.
It makes me happy.
Thanks for reading!
For those of you who’ve been rebels for a while, you might have noticed that I have the theme day in parentheses after the post title. I did this because I think the titles will appear catchier in feeds if they aren’t bogged down by the theme days first. It doesn’t mean the themes aren’t going to continue to be a guideline for the time being.
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I appreciate your readership. Seriously, thanks for being barely rebellious with me.