Saturday, February 1, 2014

Married Seniors and the Kitchen as Battleground

Jim and I both cook but we never cook together.  We are rarely even in the kitchen together.  He is an imaginative cook.  I am a very imaginative cook, which means I have a lot more bombs than he does but when I hit, I hit big. As in most things senior, the way we use the kitchen now is very different from the way we used it in 1969, the year we got married.

I remember spending a lot of time browning ground beef. This was to put in everything else, such as spaghetti (the word pasta was yet to be coined), tamale pie, lasagne, hamburger stroganoff and so forth. Star Trek or Dark Shadows might be playing on the tv set as I cooked. Even then Jim would never have combined cooking with tv watching, only a philistine like me would do that. We had tons of dishes from our wedding plus glassware, two sets of good china and one everyday. We ate with stainless utensils and used the sterling for company. The cookware was either coated in teflon or was a glass mixture called Corningware. We had just graduated from college and most everyone we knew was also getting married and just starting out in a similar fashion.

Perhaps the nadir of my cooking experience was reached when I combined all of my ingredients into a tamale burger.  Jim bit into it and it was so horrible he threw it against the wall and I swear it bounced.

We were often called Oscar & Felix from the Neil Simon play and film The Odd Couple.  I am Oscar (the slob) and he is Felix (the perfectionist). So perfectionist in fact that one night in 1969 he cleaned the sterling by throwing bleach into the dishwasher with it. It came out looking like it had spent 100 years in the attic. We had to reclean it all.

Fast forward to 2014

"I can't eat any more of this vegan (swear word)," Jim snorted a few weeks ago, "I am going to revolt and take up the cave man diet if I see one more meal of it." Unbelievably, there is such a diet! see here

"You cook like you make art," said by Jim, either when I bomb or do great, so both a compliment and a dig.

I can't remember the last year or decade when I browned ground beef. The other night I made chili and I put Trader Joe's Tempeh (soy) into it instead. Most of the time I use a small food processor and a microwave to make a meal.  I cook all of my pasta and rice in the microwave, just as one example of this change. I sold my fancy china on ebay about a decade ago because I couldn't put it in the microwave or the dishwasher. I looked at what good restaurants use as china, discovered the Vertex brand, and bought it online on ebay where a Fire Department was selling it off. It has been great and we use it for every meal.

I got rid of the stainless, put my sterling silver flatware into the kitchen drawer and we have used it for every meal since then (no more bleaching it though).  It too goes right into the dishwasher. We also can now make coffee one cup at a time using the same coffee as used in the best coffeehouses. My iPad is in use as well, either to help out or to just entertain me.

Jim: "I want to go back to regular popcorn.  I don't like it in the microwave. Pick me up some at Walmart when you go."

To my amazement I find him seasoning his popcorn pot in the oven with oil when I get back with the popcorn. And son of a gun, I hate to admit it, it is better made on the range.

However, I add Nutritional Yeast (a vegan seasoning) as a topping to mine while Jim gazes in disbelief. It is actually excellent on it.  A month later I catch him sneaking it onto his own popcorn, hoping to keep it secret from me. 1969 just met 2014.

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