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Can You Cook?
By
Cheryl

Can You Cook?

Mike stated, Was that totally necessary?

I am not totally sure, but I'm guessing that most young wives are not connoisseurs or chefs when they get married, I certainly wasn't, a pot of beans and fried potatoes was a big accomplishment for me.

I had been married about three months and both my husband and I were tired of eating every meal out.

We lived in a very large apartment house and smells of wonderful dinners being prepared made me want to just knock on their door and ask would they like to have company for dinner.

I was talking to the neighbor, Maria, one afternoon and commented on the fact that these smells from her apartment were just awesome.

She told me, “I am making a big pot of spaghetti sauce, it has to cook on slow all day, but it turns out fantastic, I take it you don't cook,” she asked.

I told her, “Unfortunately no, I was raised in a very large family with a very small income, our idea of a eating delight in our house was home-made rolls on Sunday. I have been thinking that I should try to accomplish making something, but just not real sure where to start.”

Maria told me the best thing to do would be to have someone walk me through an easily prepared dish and that would build up my confidence. Her idea was to write down everything I would need to buy and then she would teach me to make her wonderful spaghetti sauce. To say I was thrilled was putting it very mildly.

A couple of weeks later, I had purchased everything that she had so nicely written on a letter of instructions of how to make real Italian spaghetti sauce.

I could hardly contain myself for the day to arrive for us to begin. She came over early, she was so very patient and taught me everything I needed to do and prepare for my dinner. It really didn't seem like it was all that long before the sauce was simmering on the stove. She had instructed me to be sure to stir the pot every half hour for the entire day. Every time I stirred the pot, of course I had tasted to see how it was coming along, I could hardly wait, I kept thinking, it's just right, it's wonderful, but continued to simmer it until my husband got home.

I had our little dining table, all prepared with plates, napkins and the silver. The surprised look on my husband's face that I was actually at the stove stirring something was priceless. “So, what have we got here? I must say what ever it is, it smells delightful,” Mike said with a grin on his face.

Of course I can't explain anything without going all the way around China. After much to do, I finally got out all that had happened that day. I quickly cooked up the spaghetti noodles and prepared to serve my first meal. I actually was giddy, and so very proud of myself, even if he hadn't even touched it as yet.

The meal was an awesome success and my husband loved it.

I should interject here that my neighbor had a husband and four children. So her recipe was quite large for a family of two.

I was so excited about being a cook, I really didn't see any problem. So for one solid week my husband and I ate spaghetti, Mike being the type of person that he was, didn't complain. After the spaghetti was finally gone, we started going out again, although I didn't really see why we should go out so often now that I could cook, I'm sure you have guessed, after a couple weeks, I felt it was time to make more spaghetti sauce.

Upon my husband's arrival from work. I asked him to guess what we were going to have for dinner.

His reply was, “I am guessing spaghetti.” If there was any sarcasm to his tone, I chose to ignore it.

This became a ritual in our house. You have to remember I was only 16 years old, and now felt that I was an accomplished cook and was thrilled that I could feed my husband something that I had made with my very own hands. It was a wonderful feeling and I just kept thinking, “It's a piece of cake, there is nothing to being a housewife!”

It was about four months later, and I had made my wonderful dinner again. Mike walks into the house, and I gleefully say, “Dinner is almost ready, guess what were having?”

There was no mistaking the tone of his voice this time, “We're having spaghetti again,” he almost yelled.

So little country bumpkin that I was, my comment was, “You don't sound too happy.”

“Cheryl, the first time was wonderful, even with all the leftovers, even the next month wasn't all that bad, but four months in a row; we have eaten spaghetti until it's coming out my ears.”

I'll interject one more time, I failed to tell you that I have been known to have quite a temper and I didn't take criticism all that well in my younger days.

I walked over to the trash can that sat beside the stove, opened the lid, picked up the huge pot of sauce and threw the whole thing into the can, turned around and said to my husband, “Well, you'll never have to eat it again, as I will never make spaghetti sauce in the future.

Mike was standing there with a startled look on his face, looking at spaghetti sauce all over the wall, down the side of the stove and stated, “Was that totally necessary?”

Since he really didn't know me all that well, we had only dated 3 months before we married, he had no idea that we were at a very large crossroads in our lives. I am standing there, trying to decide whether I should let him have it or maybe I should cool off before this goes any farther. I chose the latter, headed to the shower and prepared myself for bed.

My husband being the smart person that he was, cleaned the kitchen. I have no idea if he ate anything, drank a beer or called it a night.

Must have been about 10 years later, we were invited over to our friend's house for dinner. His wife had made a very large spaghetti dinner with all the trimmings. We were in the midst of enjoying her wonderful dinner when her husband made the comment that spaghetti sauce was one of his wife's greatest accomplishments in the kitchen.

I actually was trying not to laugh, but all of a sudden, my husband said, “Cheryl makes an awesome spaghetti sauce also, although it's been years since she has made it.”

Later that evening after returning home, I looked at my husband and said, “I thought you didn't like my spaghetti sauce.”

“That was never true, it just got very old eating it three or four times a week and sometimes every other week. I thought maybe you would ask the girl to break it down for you so you could learn how to make smaller amounts. Instead, you just kept plowing ahead making enough for a small army. I would love for you to make it again, especially now that we have two boys, we probably could get away with only one night left overs,” as he cracked a smile.

Never being the one that says uncle, I waited a couple months before I made the sauce and over the years learned; it is much simpler to use the math that you learned in school to cut a recipe down and not have to eat it for a whole week.

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