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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Chef Boyardee vs Kitchen Slave

When they said, "the key to a man's heart is through his stomach," they failed to warn you that Dutch Ovens are on time delay. If you're not versed on flatulence jargon, a "Dutch Oven" is when you fart under the covers and throw them over your partner's head. Whenever I complain to my husband how stinky his farts are, his reply is "well, it's your cooking."


Truth is, after ten years I realized that music may have brought my husband and I together but it was definitely our gastronomic similarities that was the glue of our relationship. We both have the same tastes, literally. And DO we love to experiment, especially with cultural cuisines. Be it spicy, game meat, raw fish or the claim to the best damned Buffalo Wings in town - we're there. And it was the day we realized our perfect romantic dinner was a hunk of cheese, black bread, olives and a twelve pack of whatever was on sale that we knew we were each other's sucker.

Food is an unspoken issue with bi-racial relationships. If I may be so bold, agreeing on what is "comfort food" is probably the single biggest reason those relationships fail. He says Pa-tater salad and I say PO-teh-toh sa-la-dah, let's call the whole thing Frittata.

My mom, had a friend that had "secret" lunches where Asian wives would meet at her apartment and bring their stinkiest, nastiest, indigenous staple condiment and eat it with hot, white rice. Imagine that scenario where the husband catches his woman in the act of cheating but says instead, "Have you been eating that KIM CHEE, again?!"

Fortunately, nothing grosses out my husband. My mom ordered fried shrimp heads to test drive her future son-in-law and when he popped them in his mouth like popcorn she hung her head.

No contest.

Three years later, we gave him a tea cup full of hot sake with a grilled puffer fish fin. He barely finished it and fled the restaurant ranting mad hallucinogenic allegations. Who'da known?

We both love to cook and I appreciate the times he takes over the kitchen reigns, no matter what inflamed inedible concoction he turns out in the end. The boys always love it. It's Man Food - meaning, not made by mom. It's chili so spicy, it makes your ears ring and the same goes for his guacamole. But the guacamole is the kind of spice that only hurts when you stop eating it. Strange thing, that.

Even if it's too spicy for my liking, I get a kick watching the four-year old take a bite, fan his mouth and down a pint glass of water. It's like watching a dog eat peanut butter - highly entertaining.

As cooks, we are amateurs but at least we never had to end an evening with, "that sucked." If the boys say it did, we tell them to be grateful anyway. Not just for the obvious reason like the starving kids that Alyssa Milano asks you to fish out two quarters for but that there are "not starving" kids whose parents don't or can't make home cooked meals on a daily basis.

I could explain to them, the contents of a TV dinner. Or how blocks of dry ramen noodles were the staple of every American student's diet post 1980. But why open up that Pandora's Box? As it is, I can't tell my Italian mother-in-law to her face that her grandson thinks Chef Boyardee mini-ravioli's are the Bomb!

But that is the sad truth: Jack In The Pandora's Box. The convenient meal that replaced generations of recipes of kitchen slaves.

While the country grapples with obesity by taxing sugary drinks and displaying an actual carrot to inner city kids, I say why not offer tax write-offs for home cooked meals?

Well? Why not.


  1. HA! Tax write offs for home cooked meals? Excellent. Sarah Palin would fall off her hunting stand and die over it. I love it, you're write-we're not fat becuase we simply eat too much, America is fat for eating processed crap instead of home cooking. I cook, ever day for six. Totally worth it. I'm not sure I can come to your house though, I'm too old for spicy;)

  2. Hahaha! I go for tax write offs! Er.. at least dear husband cooks. (Me?, suck bigtime)
    Nami, you are one bad mom, hahaha, getting a kick watching a four-year-old have his tongue scorched but honestly, I do love these moments too! hahaha Kids are just pricelessly candid and funny that way.

  3. It's the main reason we had them - we didn't have cable at the time they were conceived. It's a wonder we don't have ten kids. Ha, ha!