I don't want to brag, but in the past few months I think I have really mastered the art of annoying my Executive Chef/husband in the kitchen. There's a chance I always have done this, but lately, I seem to be getting better at it.
I am so good at this in fact, that last week I called him on the phone the day before his day off to ask what I could do to help make cooking in our home kitchen easier for him. His response was, "Oh I don't know. It's fine."
Although he doesn't complain, I know him well and can tell he gets frustrated easily when cooking at home. I expressed my concern and told him a couple things I was working on for his next day off. I'm not sure if those changes made a difference or not, so I'll just make a joke about them while I continue to work on it.
While the kitchen at the restaurant is "his" kitchen and runs smoothly with everything in it's place and properly labeled, I guess that means the kitchen at home is "mine" since I do the majority of the cooking, shopping and cleaning. It's not easy cooking in someone else's kitchen, especially when they don't think the same way you do about food and don't "live" food every second of the day like you do. I get that. I'm just not exactly sure how to solve this "problem."
So over the past few months I've worked hard to compile six easy ways that you too can best annoy a chef in the kitchen (whether it's a spouse, significant other, family member or friend.) I hope this is helpful to many of you!
Here we go . . . how to annoy a chef in the kitchen . . .
Number 6 - NEVER clean up as you go. Make sure to leave all ingredients, trash and dirty dishes on the counter and stove until you are done. It's even best to leave them overnight. It makes the kitchen so much more enjoyable to clean. (Actually, I do pretty well with cleaning up after myself. The kids, not so much . . .)
(This is what happens when you let two nine year olds make cupcakes from scratch. The cupcakes turned out great. Our kitchen didn't fare so well. Don't worry, we cleaned it up before the chef got home!)
Number 5 - Store all extra ingredients you stockpile or buy in bulk out on the shelves in the garage or in the extra refrigerator/freezer in the garage. Make sure to always be low on those items on his day off so every time he needs something, he has to go out to the garage to restock the item. This will give him the exercise he needs and can then skip the gym on his day off and spend more time at home with you.
Number 4 - Forget to put a damp rag underneath the cutting board on the granite counter top so when he goes to cut something, the board starts to slide and he almost cuts himself with one of your dull knives. (See number 2.) (Note to self -- try not to laugh too much as you watch him grab the Little Mermaid washcloth from the drawer (we have three daughters) and place it there himself.)
Number 3 - Forget to yell "behind" or "corner" as you navigate through your kitchen. It's always fun to bump into someone (like a 4 year old) while carrying a pot of boiling water. This will also allow you many chances to practice your apologizing skills and you can kiss and make-up while cooking.
Number 2 - Never sharpen your knives. Make sure that anytime he wants to cut something, he has to sharpen a knife. I know he loves sharpening knives, so I would hate to do this for him and deprive him of this joy.
And the number one way to best annoy a chef in the kitchen . . . the one I am truly the best at . . . no seriously, I'm great at this . . . (should I be bragging about this?) . . .
Number 1 - NEVER label anything in the refrigerator and freezer. Make sure to have as many similar looking things in unlabeled mason jars (sour cream, homemade honey yogurt, homemade plain yogurt, creamy salad dressing, mayonnaise, etc.) so he has to open each one or at least look really closely to find the one he wants. After you use one, make sure to put it back in a different location in the refrigerator so the next time he needs it, he will grab the wrong one and have to open them all again.
It's also so much fun to defrost "mystery" meat and find out it's not what you thought it was and have to rethink your whole dinner plan. Chefs are great at creating something out of what we would consider nothing, right? This gives them the chance to truly practice this skill. You never know when it will come in handy at the restaurant.
So all laughing put aside (if I can do that after laughing hysterically while writing this post), I do need to work on these things. But acknowledging the problem is the first step, right?
If you can stop laughing at me long enough, please comment below to add to the list. This is just my list. I'm sure some of you other chef wives or significant others are good at this as well . . . (And chefs, feel free to comment as well, but please be nice to all of us trying to cook for you.) :-)
Are you curious about what it's like to be married to a chef? You can find a list of frequently asked questions on this topic over on Jennifer's blog, EmulsifiedFamily.com. You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
This post is also published on EmulsifiedFamily.com.
Follow Jennifer Small on Twitter: www.twitter.com/emulsifiedfam