When I first met my wife many moons ago, she was not well skilled in the kitchen – or anywhere near the kitchen for that matter. I’m not being male chauvinistic, but she was just a disaster when it came to cooking. It was clearly something she hadn’t tried before, and probably never wanted to try either. She just hadn’t been in a kitchen before – at all. It was like watching a blind person using an iPod. I blame her parents of course, for this lack of marriage preparation training. Kitchen navigation is one of the core lessons to teach your daughter.
I remember the first time she had to cook, or help me prepare dinner. I asked her to boil the potatoes while I picked up a friend from the airport. 2 hours later, when we returned to the apartment, there was a strange smell of burnt soil. The flat wasn’t huge and the kitchen tiny.
What was causing these strange fumes? And more, where were the potatoes? I quickly spotted the pot where I had placed the potatoes and noticed that the bottom was covered with a thick black crust. Mystery solved. She had burnt the potatoes. When I asked her what had happened with the boiled potatoes, I got this evil stare and a quick reply “Boiled potatoes? I had to put water in the pot? You didn’t give me clear instructions!”. I left it at that, no point arguing over burnt spuds, and ran to the local chipper to get fries.
Looking back, I strongly believe she had invented a new technique for making homemade chips / french fries. A technique that will be fully appreciated and worshipped when the planet runs out of water. Then all the master chefs will come running to her for advice.
Despite the early failures in the kitchen, my dear wife has become a very good chef and makes lovely dinners. I normally made dinner every night, before we had kids. But because kids needs to eat early, she started to cook dinners during the week and I’ll cook in the weekends.
Her interest in cooking / baking has taken her down different avenues, opened new doors one could say. She is particularly fascinated by baking birthday cakes for the kids – even when it is not their birthday! Not just any kind, but cakes that are shaped like princesses, dogs, balloons, etc. If you have seen the “Ace of Cakes” TV show, then you’ll know what I mean.
This is a skill she has been perfecting over time and she can now make the most amazing birthday cakes. She is making fantastic cakes for the kids’ birthdays and they love them.
Now, I fully support and appreciate these creations, but her determination and stubbornness when making these wonders are often scary. She spends weeks planning the design, and investigates various techniques on the internet. Lately, she has resorted to YouTube to get tips and hints, showing her how to make the perfect icing coatings and home made decorations, etc.
However, when the cakes are being made hell breaks lose. The kitchen looks like a war zone; flour everywhere, ALL baking utilities are out, bags of spices scattered around, decorative figures standing in line prepared for battle and the MacAir is running YouTube and other baking sites. The entire house smells of exotic spices and freshly baked cakes.
The actual process making these creations can take anything from 1 hour to 2 days – it all depends on the icing and design – or so she says. For safety reasons (my safety), I retreat into the living room, out her reach, as I would otherwise get run over by a runaway (flying) bowl. She curses, screams and sweats during the ordeal. Sometimes I wonder if she is related to Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde. Dough flies into the living room. It gets stuck on the TV closely followed by a pack of butter. Calmly, I scrape off the dough and butter, while I dial the local parish office to get connected to the baking exorcist.
I have tried to assist her at times, despite how silly this might sound, to provide her with support. But, more often than not, she has already been absorbed by the dark baking powder force, and she gives me the store of the flaming eye and utter words that I cannot repeat here. I love it when she speaks dirty, but not when she bites kitchen utensils and spins her head.
Honestly, I never expected this transformation to happen. When I fell in love with her, she was dressed in black and wore black eye makeup – black was her colour. The first time we went to the pub and we had to go home (drunk of course) she was literally lying on the road outside the pub, attempting to stop a taxi. Now, she’s throwing baking rollers, bowls and ingredients around the kitchen … or at me.
The creations are, as I mentioned earlier, amazing. Our kids love them and all their friends are clearly jealous when the cake is presented, and feuds starts when cutting the cake, as they all want part of the decorations. Some parents have even asked her if she could make a birthday cake for their kid’s birthday. Thankfully she has declined. None of her friends should have the same cool cakes as our kids and I’m not sure my nerves would last too long anyway.
- cakes below are from our daughter’s 6th birthday; cats ‘n dogs theme