If there’s one thing I’ve learned after 33 years of marriage, it’s that men don’t want to be told (especially by wives), how to do stuff! But you put a couple of men on a patio with some beers and a barbecue, and sh*t happens! In this case, an incredible transformation took place – something I never in my wildest dreams would have imagined.
It all started when we were invited to my sister’s country home for steaks on the grill. As it usually is with these get togethers, gals were in the kitchen visiting, guys were out on the patio gathered around the grill. I imagine the conversation out there went something like this…
Jeremy: “So…what’s in that stuff you put on those steaks?”
Sister’s hubs: “Oh, you just get in the fridge and start digging around. Put in a little bit of this and a little bit of that. There’s no recipe.”
Jeremy: “So you just start makin’ stuff up?”
Sister’s hubs: “Yup! I use some vinegar, and some ketchup, and maybe some barbecue sauce. Don’t use any of that girlie premade stuff. Add whatever spices sound good. Be brave and just start brushin’ that stuff on.”
Now you’ve gotta know, that in our entire working lives, the kitchen was pretty much my domain. He could get dirty dishes to the sink, but not quite to the dishwasher. He would stand with the fridge door open, in his underwear at midnight, looking for something upon which to graze. But with our Encore Voyage – a transformation!!! (Picture here that cartoon where Bugs Bunny encounters Jekyll and Hyde.)
In just a short evening, my guy fancied himself a regular grill God! And he did, in fact, start “making stuff up.” He would get out a bowl and start adding ingredients…stir, add more ingredients, stir some more, go to the pantry and stare for a minute, add something else, stir some more, and then…(holding the bowl out to me)
“Stick your finger in here and taste this!”
Now ladies, let me give you just a little bit of advice…Keep your mouth shut! Resist at all costs, the urge to advise him that Italian Seasoning and Hoisin Sauce come from two distinctly different styles of cooking! Do not point out the difference between sweet and savory. Never start your sentence with, “What did you put in that???”
And the results …
I don’t know what he put in there, or how he came up with the idea, but…Oh My God, that’s good! I now have a guy who’s a damn good cook! Try to control your twinge of jealousy when I tell you that he’s recently been heard to say things like, “Don’t worry about dinner. I think I’ll do something with a chicken breast,” or “I need you to pick up some feta cheese.”
In our pre-Voyage life, just figuring out some type of sustenance was a chore. I had the telephone number for Pizza Hut memorized. But these days, the Encore Voyage has allowed us both the freedom to explore and try new things. A good friend of mine told me that in order to be a really good cook, you need to be fearless. Jeremy has embraced that fearlessness, and now most evenings find us together in the kitchen, slicing, dicing, and laughing with a glass of wine in hand. New foods, new flavors, new recipes combined with the opportunity to reinvent how we approach meals and each other. And for the record…”Stick your finger in here” = YUM!
So what new things have you experimented with recently? How have you embraced your fearlessness in your own Encore Voyage? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear your Jekyll and Hyde stories.