Dear Mouthy Housewives,
I have always been known as a good cook and dinner parties were always a hit at my house. Then I met my husband and his palette for food is distinctly different from mine.
I have tried to accommodate – to a point. It all stems from the fact that he gives mes zero amount of appreciation and rarely even utters a thank you) The critical upturn of his nose has discouraged me from trying to cook something that he likes altogether. Don’t get me wrong, in the beginning, I worked my little butt off in the kitchen preparing food “his way” or modifying recipes to his taste. Still my hard work did little to impress.
What can I do? My food is cozy, farmer’s market fresh and eclectic. His food is Chinese stews, veggies that are cooked until the green is gone and all things white flour. Did I really lose my touch? How can I get back my passion for food?
Feeling Like a Flat Souffle
It’s not often, but sometimes a Mouthy Housewife and a reader face a similar dilemma. After a recent pork roast extravaganza, my family said “yum, thanks, burp!” and thought that they were all done. Only after a careful discussion that lasted way into the premiere of the Wizards of Waverly Place TV movie did they understand that the appropriate response to being fed is a five to ten minute discussion afterward about the merits of the meal. (Although I am pretty lenient and will accept compliments on the meal throughout the week.)
No, you did not lose your flair for food and chances are you will regain your passion for it as soon as your husband shows his appreciation for your culinary masterpieces. Because it’s one thing to have different tastes in food as you and your husband do; it’s quite another for him to have bad manners about it.
Or maybe that’s unfair. Maybe it’s not so much bad manners as that he expects food to appear on the table magically, much the way oxygen appears in his lungs without an effort, and he does not see the need to thank you for its preparation or compliment your dishes.
We must disabuse him immediately of these notions. One way is to involve him in the culinary process. Ask him ahead of time what would he like to have for dinner during the week. When he suggests a menu that should be served within sprinting distance of the nearest cardiac intervention center, tell him that you will look into making a healthier version of his choice and also add a dish of your own. Let him know that you need his help. Whether it’s shopping for the ingredients or doing the prep work, it is important for him to see what is happening. (By the way, if your dinner preparation consists of waving a magic wand and dialing for take out, the letting-him-see-what-is-involved-in-dinner-preparation will be significantly compromised).
If it seems clear that he has no interest in the cooking business, preferring to focus on the eating angle instead, you may want to get real and have a Dr.-Phil style discussion with him. Tell him, “Honey, I love cooking for us and trying new dishes. I would like to incorporate foods that you love into my kitchen. But when you don’t compliment me on what I serve, it makes me feel unappreciated and sad and stabby.”