Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Men In The Kitchen

As I headed off to a local 'Hen's Party' last week, I waved goodbye to my three beautiful children - all standing on the front verandah blowing me kisses. I also waved goodbye to my nanny, who was 'clocking off' not long after I left, my sister-in-law (who was the reserve for 'just in case the nanny left before CP got home'), and then - at the last minute - CP, who stood and waved at the verandah moments before I drove out of sight. It occured to me that the image I left behind, summed up my life nicely.

It takes 3 adults to replace me when I am not there.

Once at the 'Hen's Party' I got talking to some other 'farmer's wives' of varying ages, and I discovered a common theme with our husbands; they are all useless in the kitchen. I'm sure this is not a complete assumption about all men (some of the world's best 'cooks' are, in fact, men), and certainly not limited to farmers by any stretch, but it was a similarity I noticed at any rate.

On the RARE occasion that CP actually cooks, I can expect to be served barbecued meat, and a tomato cut in half on the side. As a special treat, he might also add a slice of cheese. That's it. And that's perfectly acceptable as a meal by CP standards.

I like telling the old story of how I will spend hours slaving in the kitchen to produce sumptuous salads, delicious desserts and other tasty tidbits for a BBQ feast. Charlie will stand over a BBQ for 15 minutes and then proudly declare the BBQ he cooked to have been a huge success. No mention of the potato bakes, green and rice and pasta salads and nibbles.

Another woman at the party I attended spoke about the time she was in hospital, and her farmer hubby's menu while she was away went:

Day 1: Corned beef. No more, no less.
Day 2: Scrambled eggs. No more, no less.
Day 3: Corned beef and scrambled eggs. (To which the children whinged that the eggs were hot and the meat was cold). This Dad then mixed the two ingredients together to 'mix it up a bit.

Ever heard the phrase 'making a rod for your own back'? That's me. Whenever I am away from home, I pre-prepare meals that can be frozen, or easily assembled in my absence. What a sucker. It makes me smile that CP doesn't reciprocate when he is away. Rod...? Back...? Perhaps I could learn something from him...

I remember being a small-ish child and having my own mother on a vacation for a week or so. During that time my father took us shopping. It went something like this:
"Hey kids! Grab some of those chips over there! How about some of these lollies?! Hmmm... anyone want icecream?" At that point I burst into tears. "Are you okay Jess?"
"NO! Mum would want us to eat more fruit and veges than this!"

And that moment right there defines my adult life. I like my children to eat properly. We all eat our own fair share of 'rubbish' too, but living in the middle of nowhere certainly helps to stay healthier to some small extent.

It doesn't really take three people to replace me when I am gone. I just like to think that it does.It helps ease my mummy guilt when I put that rod up my back. I am something of a control freak, but I could learn from all these men around who know that 'close enough actually IS good enough.'