For our third date my husband treated me to a home-cooked meal at his house. Even in my twenties I was quite a foodie having worked in the restaurant industry since I was fourteen. So expectations were high. So surprised doesn’t begin to cover how I felt when he served me pasta with sauce out of a jar with—wait for it—corn. So like pasta on one side of the plate and canned corn on the other side. Sigh. I found out later that as a teen he had attempted to cook meatloaf for his brother and father which turned out inedible but his father was so proud of him for cooking that he insisted everyone eat it. Later that night my future husband opened the refrigerator to discover why the meatloaf was so awful. He had forgotten the meat. For reals.
So I didn’t marry him for his cooking abilities (which he makes up for in so many other ways, love you baby). And since I am such a food snob I took on all of the cooking for our household. When I travel he and my sons live on B.L.T.s and food from the restaurant down the street from us. I know this because last time we went there for dinner the waiter already knew my husband and son’s orders and looked at me like I was crashing their party.
When it was just the two of us, his not cooking didn’t even register as an inconvenience. He took care of the lawn and I cooked. Good deal as far as I was concerned. Then we had one child and the difficulty level ratcheted up a heft notch. By the time my second son was born I was working a more than full time job and cooking two separate meals each night because I refused to eat kid friendly food and my sons refused to eat anything that wasn’t a hotdog, a slice of pizza, chicken nuggets or a grilled cheese. Sure I tried to elevate the children’s palates from time to time but I was so frigging exhausted by the end of the day that it turned out cooking two separate meals was actually less soul-sucking than fighting with the boys to eat a balanced meal which would only end in failure and result in me having to cook two separate meals. I envied my friends whose children ate sushi and green salads. But I resigned myself to the fact that I just hadn’t birthed those kind of kids.
About a year ago I became aware of this new trend of having meal ingredients delivered directly to you every week. But I immediately dismissed them as a luxury only for rich people. I’m the daughter of a teacher and a night shift factory worker so there are simply things that are just too fancy for me. Besides between our mortgage, saving for retirement, saving for the kid’s college and all the million and one other expenses of raising a family I felt anything but rich. So I was surprised when I was at the house of another working mom friend and saw a meal delivery box in her kitchen. I was intrigued. Here’s a woman in my same shoes without a trust fund or a sugar daddy who is indulging in this seeming luxury. She is a financial advisor like I am so for sure she had run the numbers which I hadn’t even bothered to do because I thought it was too fancy. So I had her break it down for me. Without even accounting for the value of my time having to shop for all of the ingredients, the mental energy I save myself from not having to plan every single meal, and the wasted food I had to throw away because there’s no such thing as being able to buy just the right amount of anything having me and my husband’s meals delivered was actually right in line with what I was spending on our meals. So I signed up!
Then the meal service caused two more miracles in my life. My husband started cooking. Turns out he can follow directions after all (joking, jeez). Seriously, though he tired it all by himself and found out he could do it and it actually tasted great so boom—now we share (kinda) cooking duties. Now I will tell you watching him cook is like watching him change the baby’s diaper for the first time. It’s not that he’s doing it wrong it’s that he’s not doing it exactly the way I would. It took every ounce of self-restraint not to jump in and move things along. But I just poured myself a glass of wine and relaxed. So what if he needs to measure out a teaspoon rather than eyeball it. The point is he is doing it and I am not. Thank you baby Jesus!
Miracle number two: My boys decided they wanted to eat the fantastic food that was being delivered to us each week. As long as I let the boys pick out the meals, they eat them. So this is like miracle 2A and 2B because not only was I now down to one meal preparation each night but these meals consisted of food that actually had nutritious value. They were actually eating food that was green! They were finally weaned off of their diet that consisted exclusively of bad carbs and processed food. I’m still hoping that they’ve dodged the lasting effects of having eaten such a horrendous diet during their formative years. But if the stop growing at 4’11” I’m going to tell them it’s their own damned fault. I’m that mom.