Originally published June 10, 2014 over at the fabulous TueNight.
On our third date, Andrew cooked me an incredible dinner: leg of lamb, roasted asparagus and crispy potatoes. It was truly impressive.
Years later, he told me that he learned to cook because it was a good dating move. I might have felt played, but I like eating well just a tad too much. So, I not only let him cook for me regularly, I married him.
Fast forward to when our first son was 3 ½ years old. He went to a preschool friend’s house for a play date and stayed for dinner. (If you’re thinking woo hoo, what a break for Wendy, think again. We had a 1 ½ year old and an infant at home.)
I picked Davis, my oldest son, up at about 7:00 pm and, as always, he was full of stories! What a great reporter he was. So, chat, chat, chat… and then, “Mom. Guess what? It was so weird at Daniel’s house.”
“Really, what was weird?” (You can only imagine where my thoughts were headed.)
“When we had dinner, it was weird. The mom cooked.”
It’s a true gift that my three sons have a father who has taught them some really important life lessons:
- There’s no substitute for a good knife
- It is loving to make good food with care
- Fresh ingredients make better food
- Do what you do, and do it well
- Presentation counts
- Doing it right takes time – don’t take short cuts on the stuff that matters (example: a good ragu!)
Andrew cooks almost every night. It’s true that I get the honor about twice a quarter (and gripe about it on Facebook), and I humbly submit that I’m improving. But I don’t enjoy cooking. And he does. I call that a good partnership. Don’t you?
But more than that, I’m grateful that our three sons have a dad who expresses pride and love through food.
Our sons are 15, 17 and 19 now. Last week, they cooked dinner for Andrew’s birthday. They read cookbooks. They searched online for hours and hours. They agonized over the ingredients. They shopped for the ingredients. They prepped and planned and strategized.
The menu? Hold onto your hat:
Andalusian green salad
Chorizo and shrimp paella
Citrus-olive oil cake with sorbet
It’s exciting to see the delicious life skills they’ll take into adulthood, thanks to Andrew. Bon appétit!