This is a bit of a lark really – a place to share my stories about food as a marriage coping mechanism (is that too revealing?). Food has always been my solace, my outlet for creativity. Marriage is good – really it is – but it’s a process of learning to live together that can often be challenging. Yes, after 15 years, I’m still learning. I expect after 50 I’ll continue to do so. It’s made easier with humour, patience, forgiveness and a touch of grace. You could throw a whole lot of other nouns into the pot with those ones! How does food fit in? Food provides small triumphs. Preparing and sharing food is a little like performing miracles – raw ingredients transformed into something delicious to savour and share – it’s soul filling for the gearhead, our 2 kids, and now you, out in the blogosphere. I’m glad you’re here to enjoy the ride.
When I first visited the gearhead’s place during those dizzying days of new love, I was a little taken aback by the state of his kitchen – but one tends to glaze over these things in states of bliss. There were too many to count coffee cups scattered across the counters. There was an engine in the sink! [gearhead edits exasperatingly: a limited slip differential! – not an engine – huge sigh]. I couldn’t really distinguish the oil stains from the coffee ones. There wasn’t a fridge. There wasn’t any food. This explained how he had come to be a regular at the restaurant I worked in at the time and the reason we had met in the first place. We quickly passed the kitchen to the bedroom and the mess was soon forgotten. But that kitchen sink was a portent, and a potent symbol of how our marriage roles unfolded; I became the cook, he became the mechanic. To be fair, perhaps we were those people already. Marriage just seemed to solidify it.
And so I cook – not a bum deal really – I love it. And the gearhead does all things mechanical – fixes cars, changes oil, mows the lawn, shovels snow, builds decks, tiles kitchens, designs our house, stands over contractors breathing down their necks forcing the finicky finishes he demands, fixes roofs and lots of other things I’m forgetting [gearhead edits: dark frown]. He doesn’t do all this as a living – he has a day job. Cars are his hobby. Neighbours joke that ours is a car farm – the number of metal rescue missions [gearhead edits: they’re pieces of art!] we have acquired is rather frightening. The barn has been transformed into an auto shop, complete with car hoist. I won’t go into too much detail – it’s enough to say that when men visit the gearhead, they leave with a man crush.
I cook while the gearhead fixes. But the gearhead has a discerning palate and food preferences that tend towards the meat and potato end of the spectrum. I like to spice it up – try new things – use big flavours, flirt with vegetarianism. It’s a little like buying silk lingerie, shocking at first but wholly pleasurable in the end. So there are things the gearhead likes and doesn’t like but often this is surprising, usually in a good way, and doesn’t follow a predictable path, a little like marriage really. Some of the recipes posted here are my own twists, many more come from known sources and I cite whenever that’s the case. I’m happy to share the recipes posted here and ask only that you, dear reader, provide credit when you do (to myself or to the cooks and books that I cite here, depending on the recipe). The family meal is the stage where many of our preconceptions and preferences are played out – both in good ways and in bad. My hope is to capture some of that here. Thanks for tagging along.