Thursday, February 21, 2008

Cookin'

Anyone who's been reading this blog for a while (or has gone through my archives) knows that prior to Daniel and I finding each other I was married to an Assface. I know just about everyone considers their ex to be somewhat of an ass, that is why they become exes after all... but he really, really was an ass. For the most part I don't really think about him anymore but occasionally something will spur a bad memory.

For instance, despite being a great movie franchise - I abhor 'The Godfather' trilogy. It could have something to do with me having watched each installment at least ten times a year for six years. It could also have something to do with him choosing what our bridal party wore based on what “Connie's" bridal party wore - I had to really fight for them to not wear those big hats. And our first dance? The theme from Godfather. So, yes... Godfather brings back some horrible memories. Don't even get me started on all the other gangster movies and his admiration of all things mafia and Italian. At least now I can sort of laugh about all of it.

So why am I bringing all of this up today? I'm cooking.

Assface was obsessed with cooking. He was so obsessed that he was actually his meanest in the kitchen. Everything had to be perfect and I found myself getting yelled at for not buying the most expensive ingredients, for not slicing the meat thin enough, for not holding the knife correctly when I chopped the garlic or basil. Over those six plus years, I grew to hate cooking and especially Italian food because that's all we ever cooked or ate.

Since leaving Assface, I've come to enjoy certain things again - like cooking. Getting to cook for appreciative friends and family is part of the reason. Being with Daniel and having a family of our own is most of the reason. Daniel and I enjoy cooking together. Neither of us is trying to be a master chef and we're comfortable with going with the flow. My favorite thing about cooking with Daniel is there is no right or wrong (beyond general safety principals) and we don't feel the need to follow recipes to the letter. Sure, we want the food we make to taste good, but cooking is more about us spending time together: experimenting with a new recipe and creating something we can enjoy eating. We're not critical of each other and there is no pressure. Still, sometimes I find myself reverting to the old me.

I was thinking about this today as I was throwing stuff in our BFF, the Crock-pot. Every time I try making something new I sort of freak out about how it's going to turn out. Hell, even when it's something I've made many times I freak out a little. I think it stems from my past and how nerve-wracking cooking used to be. Poor Daniel. I'm not sure he's ever had a meal cooked by me where I haven't prefaced it with, "I'm sorry if this sucks." Can you imagine? I think if someone went on and on to me (while they were cooking) about how the meal was going to suck, I might just be a little nervous. Why is it going to suck? What exactly are you doing to make it so bad? Are you trying to make it taste bad? What if servers at restaurants set your dish down and then said, "I hope this isn't a crappy meal! I'm sorry if it is.” That might make someone not want to eat there anymore, huh?

Daniel is great. He talks me down from my cooking insecurities and my threats to throw our uneaten meals in the trash. He tells me over and over again how good a meal turned out and boosts my ego/confidence. He eats seconds and says he looks forward to the leftovers. He reminds me that the joy of cooking is in the process and the exposure to new things... and that a not so fabulous meal is not a catastrophe. He reminds me just by being supportive and loving that the past really is the past. I don’t need to worry anymore or let bad memories ruin things that should be enjoyable. All I need to do is relax and enjoy the life I have now.

So even though I think tonight’s dinner might not turn out as good as I hope - I'm not going to tell (or warn) Daniel. I'm going to let him form his own opinion. I'm going to try to not freak my husband out. I'm going to try to not let my past influence my cooking anymore. I'm going to relax because even if the meal does suck, I will not get yelled at. We'll just make some PB&J and laugh about it, because that's how we roll.

But I'm not going to watch a movie about gangsters. Fuhgedaboudit! ;P

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