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on the downward side of the age mountain.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Alpha Chef

In a recent article in The New York Times they mentioned couples in the kitchen. That sounded cute since it was Saint Valentine's Day and the western world (or at least the U.S.) was awash in chocolate, romance, and roses. I delved further into the article and found it talked more about how couples negotiate the hallowed grounds of the kitchen, and that's where I discovered myself. It seems that kitchen cooks are divided between the alpha's and the beta's. The article tried to soften the conflict with cute he and she head- butting but I saw something bigger. I had not only become the dominatrix in the kitchen but it was like a solo Iron Chef show-down every time I entered kitchen stadium! No wonder my NSSP (not so silent partner) who came into the relationship with a little brown file box of recipes only opens it on Sundays for waffles and rolled up pancakes. I don't start cooking until 5 being the night chef at heart and loathing to make any brunch type meals.

Then I thought of The Princess. When I grew up I was given the job of stirring My T Fine Pudding until it was done or stirring the lumps out of gravy or shucking corn in the summer. But The Princess had never done any of those things. My NSSP had occasionally suggested that I teach her how to cook but I dreaded these exchanges. I had no patience for bumbling hands. As a result the other 2/3rds of the household stayed clear and left the dog and myself to my culinary alchemy. Now The Princess was falling out of the nest with a darned good palate and no tools to satisfy it. Bad Mom.

As in any 12 step program understanding your bad behavior is one step to recovery or not. I love being an alpha chef. My ego soars as I sharpen my knife in anticipation of boning a chicken breast. My thoughts layer food elements together, mentally trying combinations before I put them in the pan. I get off on being in control. It makes me nervous when the NSSP declares it his turn to make dinner. I wait nervously in the living room waiting for him to ask for help so I can swoop in and right his wrongs. But that doesn’t happen. He produces a very nice meal, has learned to pick the dishes, and even garnish his food. Darn it, it’s tasty too!

I guess I just have a restaurant ego in a home kitchen!

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