I have read, on some feminist websites, that they are pretty darn unhappy with my happy-go-lucky attitude about being a homemaker. They consider my happiness with being home as a direct insult to the progress that we have made as women. I respect their feelings, but also know that I am making the most of what my role as at this time. No disrespect to those of you out there who are bringing home the bacon & frying it in the pan, but I actually enjoy being home.
The truth is that I was not always this way about running my household; in fact, I was pretty much a failure at it. Only in the last couple of years have I realized that this is actually something that I can do and I have tried to approach it with some enthusiasm.
To illustrate how far I have come, I will start from the beginning of our marriage….
When my husband & I were first married, I knew how to cook two things. My first dish that I knew how to make was baked chicken. No, nothing fancy with a sauce or anything elaborate…. just chicken. I would sprinkle Lawry’s seasoning on it and add a side of Rice a Roni and that was our dinner. Yum, yum!
My second dish consisted of tuna casserole. You know the one where the ingredients consisted of a can of cream of mushroom, cream of celery, noodles, & tuna. This second dish was probably the thing that I was most proud of because it felt like real cooking to me.
The first night that I cooked for my husband I made the tuna casserole for him. I proudly served up two bowls of the casserole and watched as my husband’s eyes filled with horror over his bowl. He took a few bites and then claimed that he was full and I just started bawling. You see, the only thing that I knew how to cook was this and he hated it. I think that I yelled at him and told him I was going to leave him (or something to that effect) and I felt a real sense of defeat. We lived hundreds of miles away from our family and anyone that I knew so I didn’t even have a mom out there to come show me how to cook.
That first year of our marriage was filled with a lot of baked chicken and going out to dinner. Seeing as we were both working, I really did not mind the break from the kitchen because we could afford to do that.
Only after my husband secured a job in Indiana did I finally learn to cook (this was towards the end of our third year of marriage) and this was only out of necessity. Ryan moved out to the Midwest to start his job and Ethan & I stayed at our home on the East coast until the house was sold.
Despite my lack of cooking, I did know how to stock a pantry with supposed “cook” ingredients. I realized that we would either have to eat the food in our pantry, give the food away or I would have to eat out by myself with Ethan every night until it was moving day.
With hours upon hours of being alone, I started watching the Food Network and I became almost fanatical in my desire to learn how to cook. If they showed how to cook something on television, I wanted to make it at home. This is really how my love for cooking began and that is when I realized some important cooking skills that I had been lacking.
Here are some of my own common misconceptions about the world of food:
- Beef stew does not come out of a can. I mean, it does, but that is not the way one was intended to eat it.
- Whipped cream is actually cream that has been whipped, it is not Cool Whip. This is one of those things I did not realize that you could actually make.
- Marinara sauce is not necessarily all made by Prego or Ragu- you can actually cook stuff from crushed tomatoes, garlic, & herbs.
- Not all rice is made in a minute.
- Chicken can be prepared in a variety of ways, which could include but not be limited to my baked chicken.
- Vegetables can be bought & prepared fresh…and they actually taste better than the Del Monte veggies.
- Roasting a whole bird (turkey or chicken), despite looking pretty complicated, is not as hard as it looks.
- Brownies can be made from basic ingredients in your pantry- they aren’t all made by Betty Crocker and brownies are not always put together in a powder form.
These are just a few of the simple things that I did not know and why I have attacked cooking & homemaking with a vengeance.
Through my Food Network knowledge, it has opened all of these new doors for me. Now I am not attributing Food Network with everything (watch Sandra Lee’s Semi-Homemade show to understand why I wouldn’t give them all the credit), but without my new love for cooking and a desire to be home with my family, I would have never had this blog, or my site, or all of this extra spending money (okay, that last part is a total lie, but you get the picture).
Go ahead, feminist sites, bash me away. Just try to make me look foolish! Ridicule my Donna Reed-ism & my Leave it to Beaver site…..say what you must!!
But just ask my husband once, if he would like a bowl of tuna noodle casserole and you just SEE if he wants his working woman back…..Hmmm…I think NOT!!
Now just where did I leave my apron?