Melissa Cooks and Mark tends the kids
I'm on maternity leave and if you've ever been off on a parental leave you'll know that although you feel delirious with exhaustion much of the time, it's also kind of boring. To feel some sense of the old me, I told Mark that I want to cook supper once a week. Some background on our family - this never happens. Mark is a formidable chef and no one cares to eat the simple, comfort food that I make, but I needed this and once a week, Mark and I swap the roles we normally have from 4:30 to 5:30.
In my heart of hearts, I felt that I would be getting a break. I thought that watching and entertaining two kidlets for the dawn of the witching hour was far more difficult than having the kitchen to myself and preparing a meal, following the directions, and pretending to be just a cook with a mission. ESPECIALLY since the recipes I usually choose are not difficult and a lot of the chopping and prepping can be done earlier in the day during the snip-its of moments when the kids are happy or sleeping or in a t.v. coma.
Yesterday, I prepared a chicken curry and a very simple quinoa pilaf. I chopped everything earlier in the day and I blended the curry sauce earlier in the day too. But suddenly at 4:30, I found myself racing around the kitchen, wondering if the quinoa was cooking too fast and was the curry sauce flavourful enough. Was the chicken going to cook at the low temp because it was not thawed all the way when I started and why was the home-made chicken stock kind of gelatinous? The dirty dishes were piling higher and higher and I couldn't wash them because I didn't have time to clear the dish rack. I could hear Cole whining at Mark and Amelia was fussing in the living room. I was summoned three times to see Amelia crawling, but she wouldn't do it until I left the room.
Mark checked in on me close to 5:30, wondering how I was doing. I was frazzled to say the least. I remembered how most evenings, at this time, Mark would be coolly producing some delectable delight, all dishes would converge to perfect doneness at a minute or two before the estimated dinner-hour. The dishes would be all cleaned, the counters wiped. Mark would prepare any separate bits of meal for Cole, like pealing and cutting pears, and he'd serve all of supper and bring out the glasses of milk too.
The curry and quinoa was edible but not flavourful. And I'll still make supper once a week, if for no other reason than to be reminded how much I appreciate all the hard work that my husband does for me on the other six days.