This Man Cooks

This Man Cooks

This man in my life is proud he can cook and look after himself, and he loves to show off by cooking me meals. I can be lazy when it comes to cooking and love anyone doing anything for me. I eat there often for those six months.

One Thursday night I declined an offer for a dinner. I must have been coming down with something to do that.  At 7pm I received this text message: “I just had that Portuguese Chicken it was so hot my lips jumped off my face.”

He apparently spent some time looking for his lips which were “hiding”. I can understand why… Portuguese Chicken!

I was busy doing my own shopping and buying ingredients for a recipe he had given me for Rigatoni. It was very nice when he made it. He had done a good job and I felt if he could do this, so could I. Therefore I had to practise. I forced him to write the recipe out for me so I could do it the same way. It had to be easy.

I have never been fond of cooking. I think I could live without a kitchen. My mother was a terrible cook. I mean terrible. Dad told me when they were first married the first thing Mum made was a meat pie. She followed a recipe. I’ve noticed myself that some instructions are just not detailed enough, they don’t spell things out. Mum put the meat and all the other ingredients in, put the pastry on top and cooked – the pastry, that is. The meat was still raw.

It couldn’t have taken Dad long to realize he had a problem.  My Mum and Dad celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with a family party and were married for 57 years in total. Mum never learned to cook a decent meat pie or anything else. You never wanted to eat anything my Mother made, but if you were hungry enough, poor enough or polite enough, you ate it. Mum was simply not bothered and I get that now.

Another thing I have noticed about men is their hatred of changing sheets. What is that about? When my Dad was caring for my Mum and was involved in an accident himself, I flew interstate to help sort something out for Mum. I had to stay for an extended time. I had been there for two weeks and phoned my husband to let him know I needed to stay for longer.  He was supportive but eventually said, “I guess that means I’ll have to change the sheets then?” Dah, yeah. He was worried about having to look after himself. Our son was still living at home then and he was worried about their survival as well. More stories on that down the track.

This man who can cook will not change his sheets. He has been asking his daughter to come and change them. I will change sheets for a cooked meal any day of the week. I don’t get it. Mind you I wash the dishes after he cooks; maybe I am not getting the best deal.

Diverting from the subject for a bit, just because I can – I have been applying for jobs, all year it seems.  I have been getting temp jobs. I like temp jobs. I have moved so it is a good way to meet more people. At one job, I was using the printer and someone had loaded scrap paper into one of the trays. When I turned it over to see what was on the back I realized it was me.  My resume, complete with my name, address and phone number, was now on the back of what I had printed out in a workplace. Apparently there was some mistake made when the print button was pressed 10 times on my resume. So much paper was used it was decided to recycle it. So I was not just on my copy of what I had printed. “I” was on everything everyone had printed; for several days.  Not all of which stayed in the office either. My resume is about six pages long I do the right thing and put my name as a header on every page.

Workplaces are so intertwined into our lives. Few workplaces are perfect due to containing lots of us – people.

On the up side I have been extremely fortunate to work in some great workplaces because of the great people in those workplaces. It makes my future somehow seem brighter to know there are indeed great people in many workplaces. More than we think.

On the down side, in 2005 I endured the polar opposite and was forced to deal with workplace bullies. Two of them, in the same office. I rank that experience up there with one of the worst of my life. This had the most devastating effect on me.  I had no skills in place to deal with bullies. I had never had this happen before. I had been fortunate. I am pretty easy to get along with. I do now have some strategies in place which help me deal with this. I do not tolerate unhappy, unsupportive and plain unhealthy workplaces. I leave. I reckon I will clock up 50 jobs in my lifetime. I have just hit 40.

My mental health is worth more to me than any job. I will work with something but if it is unworkable it is just unworkable. I don’t want avoidable bad experiences in my life.

Back to this man’s cooking, I can vouch for him enjoying the whole process of cooking. He tells the tale of not being able to do anything when he found himself alone with a saucepan. This must be the secret – when you enjoy doing something it is not a chore. I know indubitably I do not like cooking. I hate cooking; most of the time.  Now and then I will enjoy making something; other than that, remove the kitchen.

I made the Rigatoni exactly as this man’s recipe said. I had the sauce as a side-dish and drank it.

Copyright © Mary Willetts 2011

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