In the year 2 or 3 BC (before children), my husband (The Consultant) and I enjoyed some of our weekend evenings in the kitchen together. It was social time where we experimented with new recipes and connected over a glass of wine, often toasting our own scrumptious creations. We ate late, sometimes by candlelight, and solved all the world’s problems while doing so. It was fun.
Fast forward 25 years and The Consultant has a new favourite saying while in the kitchen. “Six feet, six feet,” he says, oscillating around the room with arms outstretched. This is a little idea he adopted from a family friend, chef wannabe, and good cook who insists on having an imaginary people-free bubble around him for optimum range of motion and efficiency within the kitchen. Reality is that this space is also unobstructed by the opinions of other self-proclaimed foodies and any well-intentioned helpers that may have enjoyed the community experience that food preparation presents. In The Consultant’s case, by keeping a minimum of 6 feet around him free and clear, he can avoid intruders who may critique his tendency to add as much hot sauce, as many onions, or as much cheese as he likes, even if it means overpowering the delicate herbal flavouring of the dish (although, I don’t know anyone who would do that). A violation of this territorial claim is an instant irritant. “Six feet, six feet,” he declares again. Scary thing is, I get it, and I am beginning to employ this same tactic. Now, he prepares and cooks his meals or I do mine. We have our fun in the kitchen, independent of each other. Then we sit down together to enjoy what the other has prepared. Period.
I don’t know when this change occurred but, the fact is, The Consultant and I are no longer well suited kitchen companions. All of this has got me thinking ahead. What happens when The Consultant’s contract ends for this season? Quitting my job and coming to Fort McMurray(see previous post – This Is It!) has been peculiar in itself. His role is currently one of the traditional male worker and mine the traditional, dare I say it, housewife. We are turning into his parents! He gets up early every morning to bring home the bacon and my job is to have it cooked in a healthy manner and served when he gets home from a long day. He comes home for lunch and we break up the day with a chat and good food. This is the way it is, seven days a week. He needs taking care of and I need to take care of him because we have serious plans for great adventures.
Anyway, last night, it occurred to me that our lifestyle would soon be changing, once again. When the contract ends and we head back to Calgary we will both be jobless. We are about to experience a LOT of togetherness. It is time to acknowledge that we are embarking on a semi-retired lifestyle and this realization instills me with fright, as it would any sane woman who has been in a thirty-five year relationship.
So I ventured the question, “How are we going to do meals when we get home?”
“What to you mean?” he asks. He is happy with the, she cooks, he eats system of meal planning.
“I guess you could forego cooking for bathroom cleaning,” I offer.
“No, I am going to fix Princess’s car.”
“Everyday!!?” I ask in disbelief. “Remember when we used to be compatible in the kitchen? We used to have fun cooking together. I’d like to go back to that. How do we get there?” I suggest we enroll in cooking classes.
After a moment, he responds, “I think you just got your idea for your next blog post.”
So, while I continue to work towards harmony in the kitchen, here is my post.