The big Facebook question for my recent birthday was, “Did Al bake you a cake?’ with a frequent addendum, “What kind?” The answer is “Yes, it was a feather light yellow layer cake with penuche icing.”
But it was not always this way! Al grew up in a household with four boys and a mother who was Queen of the Kitchen. When we married, the extent of his culinary skills was popcorn with peanuts that roasted as the corn popped. [This is quite delicious. I often claim it is both the reason I married him and the reason I stay married to him.]
In the early days of our marriage, he volunteered to chop onions or peel potatoes, but left the cooking to me. He also instituted a system. If I cooked, he cleaned up. I liked cooking. Cleaning up? – Not so much. It worked for me.
About fifteen years into the marriage, our church had a cook-off where the deacons and pastor were to bake a cake for a church event with no help from their wives. The cakes would be judged and given ribbons. After choosing to bake a cake with a gazillion ingredients and asking two and a half gazillion questions, Al had the cake ready to go in the oven – which he had failed to turn on. Wonder of wonders, he won first prize and gained something far beyond his blue ribbon.
A whole new hobby began as he delved into the cookbook for more cake recipes, and then went on to recipes for other foods. Our children’s friends checked to see when he was making Oklahoma Dip. Today’s church potluck attendees corner me to see what Al brought, hoping for his famous Carrot Cake or Chocolate Sheath Cake, which they often mistakenly call his “brownies.”
We now operate under a different arrangement with the cooking coming out somewhere near fifty-fifty. He has also altered his system. If I cook, he cleans up. If he cooks, he cleans up. It works for me.