Mr. Gore fancies himself a cook.
He butts his way into the kitchen, asking annoying questions about “why?” my Mom and I cook the way we do even though he knows full well the answer is going to be “because that is the way Granny did it.”
Why do we put a smidgen of baking soda in our sweet tea? Granny did. No questions, no comments.
I mean, sure, his baked tilapia is, as my beloved Paula Deen says, “so good it’ll make your tongue want to slap your brains out.” And his chicken alfredo beats any restaurant version I’ve had…
Okay, so, he’s great. And he doesn’t really fancy himself a cook; rather he has been blessed with a mind that wants to know who, what, where, when, why and how about everything. And I love cooking with him. And perhaps the only reason his questions are annoying is because they illuminate my ignorance. I will go a full lifetime doing what my Mama did without knowing why; he will google his question and botta-bing, botta-boom, crush or validate our cooking theories in milliseconds. He has taught us all a thing or two in the kitchen. And he truly loves to learn from us, in return.
Ya gotta love inquisitive minds.
But he does, at times, over season the vittles in my humble yet oft-given opinion. Spicy, salty, seasony, HOT…he’s always crouching over his unprepared food with various vials of spices as I tap on his shoulder saying, “Hey, Mister! Salt, pepper, garlic powder.” That is Paula Deen’s house seasoning, you know…
We made a dish together a few weeks ago for honored military guests, an old friend of Chris’s who is now a Marine, accompanied by his lovely wife and mother-in-law. The name of the recipe was “Farmer’s Pork Chops”. The author was, you guessed it, Paula Deen. It is this delicious dish that is basically a baked concoction of white gravy and sliced potatoes and onions topped with pan-seared meat. As noted, the recipe called for pork chops, but we used steak instead; the browned steak drips down into the potato and gravy mixture as it bakes in the oven, and the result is larapin.
I handled the potatoes, onions and gravy, seasoning them generously, while Mr. Gore prepared the steak, seasoning it very generously…
Which, when we put them all together, resulted in one salt-tay supper.
Our deepest apologies, honored military guests.
But marriage is all about compromise, is it not? Thus, we’re learning to please both of our palettes when we are cooking for just our little family. For instance, quesadillas. Mine is always the gentler version, prepared and cooked first (along with the children’s), and his is loaded with heat – chili powder, red pepper flakes, jalepenos – and is cooked last, as it completely taints the skillet with all kinds of fire and brimstone.
That famous tilapia of his is cooked in two separate pie pans – one for him, one for me.
Likewise, when Mr. Gore makes fried rice, he scoops mine out into a bowl and then adds the “flavor” to the rest.
Which left me in a bit of a pickle tonight. After consuming my little bowl of fried rice, I wanted more, but the easy-does-it version was all gone, leaving me with two choices: 1. Stop eating. (Ha!) or 2. Have a bowl of his so-hot-you-can’t-properly-taste-the-rice version.
I reluctantly chose the latter, but on my way to the kitchen, I called him Mr. Season-all.
Without missing a beat, he called me Mrs. Blandings.
But the good thing is, regardless of our obvious differing tastes in taste, like Jack Sprat and his wife, betwixt the two of us we will eventually lick the platter…the bowl…the pie plate…clean.
Till death do us part.